Nathan Pond insists he hasn’t set a target to break Fleetwood Town’s appearance record this season, making clear his focus is simply on nailing down a first-team spot.
The 30-year-old is just 30 games away from Percy Ronson’s record of 416 appearances for the Highbury club.
Pond is one of the prime candidates to skipper Town in their second League One campaign.
But the centre-half, now in his fourth Football League season, insists he’s got to earn a start before thinking about anything else.
“I’m feeling good,” said Pond, returning from his summer break.
“All the lads have come back in good shape and we’re really looking forward to getting on with the season.
“I’m just going to try to nail down a place. Obviously if I’m playing well, that record is going to get broken at some point.”
With former club captain Mark Roberts having moved on to Cambridge United, Pond is favourite to hold down a centre-half berth alongside former Premier League star Stephen Jordan.
But he is taking nothing for granted, despite the pair forging a strong partnership last campaign.
Pond added: “Nothing’s set in stone about who is playing where but Stevie and I played a lot of last season together, so we understand each other’s game. But there’s still going to be a lot of competition.
“It’s all about doing well in pre-season, getting my head down, doing well in the friendlies and making sure I’m in that side.”
Starting a second season in League One is an incredible achievement for Pond, who joined Fleetwood as a central midfielder with the club in the North West Counties League.
He signed a new one-year deal in May and stressed there is no club he’d rather be at.
“It’s my 13th season – unlucky for some,” he joked. “Hopefully not for me.
“I was happy to get the deal done. I’ve been here a long time. This is where I want to play my football.
“I’ve got a good relationship with the chairman, the staff and the fans, and I just want it to continue.”
Fleetwood manager Graham Alexander has been busy rebuilding his squad this summer, making Fleetwood a younger, leaner side.
That makes Pond one of the senior men. And he’s only too happy to pass on the wisdom of more than a decade in the non-league and professional game.
“I was 30 this year,” said Pond. “I walked into the changing room on the first morning, looked around and thought, ‘There’s a young squad here.’
“But Stevie Jordan is 33, so we’ve obviously got the experience at the back if we play together.
“And we want to pass that experience on to the younger lads”