Adam Le Fondre eager for starting role at Reading following recent run of goals

Striker wants to shake off the 'super-sub' label

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The Independent Football

Reading striker Adam Le Fondre is keen to shake off the 'super-sub' label he has earned for his goalscoring exploits in January.

Le Fondre picked up the Barclays Player of the Month award for scoring five times in the league last month, with all of his efforts coming as a substitute.

Two goals in the win at Newcastle and draw at home to Chelsea, plus an equaliser in the 3-2 victory over West Brom, mean the 26-year-old is now seen as the Royals' go-to man if the starting line-up fail to provide the goals.

But although the former Rotherham forward is happy to see Reading sitting outside the bottom three thanks to a good run of form, he is itching to be back in manager Brian McDermott's first XI.

"I'm as happy as I can be coming off the bench," he said.

"Obviously I want to start and the gaffer knows that. I've spoken to him numerous times after I've scored goals that I want to start games, but those five goals from the bench have catapulted me into the 'super sub' tag.

"I don't want to be stuck with that for the rest of my career. I don't want to play 20 minutes in games, I want to play for 90 minutes.

"It is the exact opposite of what I want to be known as. I'm not an impact player and just do the best I can every time I'm on the pitch.

"I just want to start games - for the time being it is as you are because we are winning games and have got to stick with it."

Le Fondre admits that most people outside of the club had Reading as a certainty for an immediate return to the npower Championship, but reckons belief has always been strong amongst the players and staff.

"Pre-Christmas I think everyone wrote us off and they were probably right to, but we have always had the belief that it isn't over until it's over," he said.

"I think, when you watch our games, you can see the belief in us that a game isn't over until the whistle is blown. We have come up with a number of late goals and have made it our speciality."

McDermott has masterminded a run of 10 points out of a possible 15 since the turn of the year and praised Le Fondre's application, whilst underlining how important he is to the team.

"The most important thing for Adam Le Fondre is that the team wins," said McDermott.

"And whichever way we do that, he is a part of that, he doesn't care. If he comes off the bench and scores and we win he is happy, if he doesn't come off the bench and doesn't score he is happy.

"He is not a sub, he is a really good player and we are trying to make that point.

"Obviously at the moment he is coming off the bench and scoring to a great affect, so it is probably a unique situation that someone who has come off the bench four times in a month has won player of the month, so that is an incredible achievement in itself."

Reading face a tricky trip to Stoke tomorrow but know that a positive result is likely to keep them out of the relegation zone with 12 games remaining.