Fleetwood Town skipper Nathan Pond admitted it has been frustrating watching Town from the sidelines – but is raring to go as he eyes another promotion.
The 32-year-old has featured in all seven of Town’s promotion campaigns and now is bidding to make it eight with the club third in League One table, six points off second-placed Bolton Wanderers with seven games to go.
Pond has been missing for the last 10 weeks with a knee injury after a collision with Conor McLaughlin in January’s 3-1 win over Bristol Rovers .
Now he is back but admits he might not be ready for a full 90 minutes just yet ahead of today’s clash with relegation-threatened Swindon Town at Highbury.
He said: “It was a collision with Conor; his knee has gone into mine and damaged my medial ligament, took a while to heal – probably because of my age! But I’m back in training.
“It has been frustrating, I’ve been jumping around when we’ve been scoring. It is hard to contain yourself but you just want to get back in the action don’t you?
“If called upon I will start the game but I don’t think I’ve got 90 minutes in me yet.
“I think that was my third training session on Thursday and had 45 minutes against Preston but if called upon I will be ready.
“I’m back in the fold, back in training I’m feeling good and back to be with the squad.”
That 45 minutes against PNE in midweek saw Pond come up against Championship strikers Simon Makienok and Jermaine Beckford.
And he says he was glad to test himself against players of that standard ahead of his return to League One action.
He said: “I was glad when they ran out of the tunnel, I was glad to see them playing because it test me because they are Championship players and it kept me on my toes.
“I’d rather play 45 minutes against them than 90 minutes against a youth team. It was good to play against top players.”
In Pond’s absence Town have picked up six clean sheets from their last seven games and are currently on a run of one defeat in 22 games.
Town have recorded 13 clean sheets in that time and Pond says the key to Town’s defence starts from the front.
He said: “We’ve been defending really well as a team and I think we have the most clean sheets in the league.
“It is not just the back three, we defend from the front. David Ball and Ash Hunter set the tone and we just react off them, your strikers are your first line of defence.”
After back-to-back goalless draws Pond hopes Town can get back to winning ways.
He said: “They (Swindon) have got some dangerous players but it is all about us and we need to get back to winning ways.”