Nathan Pond has seen pretty much everything during his 15-year spell at Fleetwood Town but Saturday will be the first time he, and the club, have faced Premier League opposition.
But not everything will be new to Town as Leicester City will bring a certain striker in Jamie Vardy for their Emirates FA Cup third round tie.
Vardy was bought for £1m from Fleetwood by the Foxes back in 2012 after an impressive year in the Conference and has since lifted the Premier League trophy and earned England honours.
And Pond acknowledged that his impact is still being felt in the town even if his meteoric rise up the leagues in England was a surprise.
- Emirates FA Cup
- Third Round
- 12.45pm, Saturday 6 January
- Highbury Stadium
“Along with the chairman, he’s obviously helped put the club on the map, every time England are playing Fleetwood Town always get a mention and he’s helped with that,” he said.
“I didn’t think he would be an England international and hold the Premier League consecutive games goal-scoring record but you did know he had something about him.
“It’s the first time [playing Premier League opposition] for me and the club and the added bonus of it being Leicester and the link with Jamie Vardy, it’s a good day for the club.
“It would be great to beat a Premier League side and go into the fourth round where we have never been before as well, it would be history made for the club.
“We’ve exchanged a few texts but I haven’t spoken to him, you want to get his shirt don’t you, obviously, that’s the first thing on your mind and going to try and beat him.”
Vardy scored 34 goals in 42 appearances when Fleetwood won the Conference title before his move to the King Power Stadium, where he lifted the Premier League trophy.
And centre-back Pond could watch on as Vardy terrorised those non-League defences, but could be up against his old friend this weekend.
“Speed is his main asset and he doesn’t give you a moment's peace, if he does play and I’m marking him I’ll be in for a tough game because he puts himself about,” added Pond.
“The level he was playing at the time was Conference and sometimes it looked too easy for him, but he’s got a good work rate and attitude and has taken that into the Premier League.
“It’ll be good to see him on Saturday. I’m not sure about his injury, I know he didn’t play Leicester’s last game, so I’m not sure if he’ll be available or not.
“He’s said he’ll be at the ground regardless [of his injury] so it’ll be good to catch up with him.”
Emirates FA Cup history
This is the first time Fleetwood Town have ever faced Premier League opposition and they’ve never got beyond the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, a stage they’ve reached twice.
Leicester City have been FA Cup finalists four times but never lifted the trophy – their most recent trip to Wembley came in 1969 where they were beaten by Manchester City.
Did you know?
Jamie Vardy scored for Fleetwood against Blackpool in the FA Cup third round in the Cod Army’s first ever appearance at that stage of the competition.
Success in the Emirates FA Cup third round earns the victorious club £67,500 as well as an invaluable spot in the draw for the fourth round.