Manager Graham Alexander is banking on Nathan Pond and Stephen Jordan to provide much-needed experience next season after both agreed new one-year deals with Fleetwood Town, writes ROB STOCKS.
Pond put pen to paper yesterday, two days after Jordan finalised his one-year extension, meaning Alexander is able to reunite last season’s centre-half pairing. And he wants to make the most of their experience.
Alexander said: “Pondy can take on a role that is an example to all the other players at the club – if you train well and look after yourself, then you get your rewards.
“He and Stevie will be the most experienced players in that squad next season, so they’ve got big roles to fill.
“It’s not just on the playing side but also in leading a squad of young players who we have to constantly improve.”
Jordan, 33, a former Burnley team-mate of Alexander, made the switch from left-back to centre-half last season, making up for an injury-hit first season at Highbury by becoming a near ever-present in Town’s squad.
“Stevie had a fantastic season when we moved him to centre-half,” added Alexander.
“We had the fourth-best defence in League One and he played a major part in that.
“He gives us great experience and balance as a left-footed centre-half and we know he can play left-back too, so it was great to get him signed on.
“I knew his character off the pitch when he first joined us and he is always looking on the bright side of life.
“He’s a good professional, who looks after himself really well, and is a fantastic player for the squad to be around as well.
“He’s played at the top level in the past and is still motivated to play well for us, so he was a great one to get signed on again.”
Alexander is also glad to have 30-year-old Pond on board for another campaign, the defender ready to kick-off his 12th season at Highbury.
It could be a record-breaking one for the 30-year-old, who has Percy Ronson’s record of 416 Fleetwood appearances in his sights.
Alexander insists Pond is learning at an astonishing rate, having played most of his career in non-league.
The manager said: “One of our major strengths last season was our defensive qualities. Both Stevie and Pondy, along with Mark Roberts, played massive parts.
“The reason we wanted Pondy to stay was because we believe he’s a very good centre-half and I still think there’s more to come from him.
“He’s got a fantastic reputation around the town and the club, and for good reason. He’s a very good professional and we want him to progress.
“Last year was his first season as a League One player and we think there’s more to come, so to get him signed up is a big one for us.”