Experienced defender Nathan Pond joined the Coasters late last week, adding strength and depth to an already competitive squad. 


AFC Fylde manager Jim Bentley is tasked with putting a squad together that can bounce back at the first time of asking, so was delighted to add record-breaking seven time promotion winning quality to his side.

Speaking to afcfylde.co.uk, Pond told us: “I had a lot of interest off the club when they found out I was available and even as far back as January when I was still at Salford, they showed interest in me. I was out of contract this summer and Jim Bentley got in contact, and what he told me suited me. The ambition of the club and the desire for promotion was great and that’s what I want to do.

“I am really pleased to be here now and get it all signed. I played against some of the players in the play-off final so I know the quality that is in this squad, so now it’s about all of us getting back in together and looking to get promoted.”

The club has clear ambition and has not been shy in coming forward about its plans. David Haythornthwaite has a clear vision at Mill Farm, with the club wanting to reach the football league. However, relegation last season means the task is now back-to-back promotions if he’s to achieve his targets. 

Pond likes the ambition, saying: “The way everyone was speaking about the way they want to go with this club and the ambition really suited me. Unfortunately looking at last season it didn’t go the way they wanted it to, but you can see there is a squad that’s capable of getting back up to the National League. 

“It’s probably one of the reasons the manager wanted me as well, it’s important to have leadership not just on the pitch but off it as well and I do feel I can bring that. There will be a few lads that will be down as they’re now going to be playing at a level they didn’t want to be playing at, but we all need to stick together and work hard to get back to where we want to be. Then from there, who knows…”

At the age of 35, Pond knows he will be one of, if not the oldest in the squad heading into the 20/21 campaign. That’s not an issue to the seven-time promotion winner who still feels fit and ready to go, whilst also having an eye on being able to help the younger players within the team as well.

He said: “I was speaking with Jim [Bentley] and he’s mentioned that he’s always had an older head in the side, such as Kev Ellison previously and one or two others, so he’s no problem with age which is great for me. To me it’s not a problem, if you’re good enough and fit enough then age doesn’t matter to me. A lot of people will look at that and doubt me, so I’ll let them do that, then when they see me play they will change their minds. 

“It’s good to have a squad that is a mix. You don’t want a load of players that are seen as old, or a load that are seen as young, it’s good to blend both together and then you can bounce off each other in different ways. I hope I can play a part in helping anyone who may need it.”

On the challenge of the National League North, Pond knows all about what the club are facing. The Coasters won the division in 2016/17, but there is no time for sentiment in a division that will be as competitive as ever.

“It’s going to be a tough league,” Pond explained. “There are some former league clubs in there such as Chester, Hereford & York, so they will all be looking to try and do what we want to do, there is no way this will be easy. I haven’t played in the division for a while but I am no stranger to non league football, I know it’s a physical league, it will be a challenge for us all but one I am looking forward to.”