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Saturday, 02 May 2015, 12:15

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ALF's sub standards

Adam Le Fondre has become a hero from the bench for Reading this season - but he insists he doesn't want to be known as a super sub.

Last Updated: 03/02/13 at 13:24 Post Comment

The Royals striker has scored six times as a substitute, equalling the record for a single Premier League season, and his contribution was crucial to the victories over West Brom and Newcastle, as well as the late draw with Chelsea in midweek.

His goals have earned relegation-threatened Reading an extra 10 points this season and after talking to manager Brian McDermott he says he's happy with the role in the short term, but will continue to fight for a place in the starting line-up.

"It's frustrating for me not starting," he told Goals on Sunday.

"Obviously I'm scoring goals for the team, but it is for the team and I'm doing a job for the time being.

"If we go to 4-4-2 and hopefully I'm playing well enough to start up front then that would be perfect, but while we're playing 4-5-1 and getting results I've obviously just got to bide my time and wait for my chance to go 4-4-2.

"Like I say, it's entirely for the team and what we're aiming to do is stay in the Premier League, so it's fine with me for the time being.

"The gaffer brought me in and said 'what do I do?' and I totally understand where he's coming from. I'm scoring goals from the bench and doing a good job for the team.

"I don't want to be known as a super sub and I've stressed that to the gaffer - and he's said it to me as well.

"But it's one of those things. For the time being I'll take the tag, but hopefully I'll get my starts and start showing again that I can score from the start.

"While it's working for the time being I've just got to stick with it."

Exposed

Le Fondre has been the victim of a change of system at Reading, as McDermott has changed his attacking 4-4-2 approach in favour of a 4-5-1 system with Pavel Pogrebnyak deployed as a lone striker.

The new approach, implemented after a 5-1 humbling against Arsenal in December, has sparked their best run of form all season and they have only lost once - away at Tottenham - in the nine games they have played since Christmas.

And Le Fondre says the players accepted that changes needed to be made, especially after watching Gary Neville expose their weaknesses on Sky Sports.

"We were more or less all-out attack when we first came up," he added.

"We were almost 4-2-4 with the wingers pushed up and two up front. We soon found out it's not really the way to play in the Premier League.

"If you keep giving people the ball with the class that's in the Premier League then they're obviously going to hurt you, especially on the break, and we found that out the hard way. Obviously that was the end of me playing and is why I'm on the bench!

"We all knew what needed to be done. Against Arsenal we got properly exposed and Gary Neville on Monday Night Football pointed a few things out.

"Everyone's seen that we needed to change and I think the gaffer must have seen it as well. To get the results we've got since Boxing Day is fantastic and the change of shape has worked.

"That's why I'm content on the bench because it's working. If we stay up then it's not going to be about me playing, it's about me doing my job for the team and we're all pulling in the same direction."

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