It had been almost two months since Adam Le Fondre had started a Premier League game for the Royals – but the clinical frontman was ready when called upon to bag a match winning brace against Everton.
Brian McDermott revealed to his pre-match press conference this week that he had spoken to all four of his strikers prior to kick-off against the Toffees, and that chat clearly had the desired effect.
“I spoke to all the guys, we brought them in at twenty five to one and they’re such good professionals,” said McDermott.
“Adam Le Fondre hadn’t played too many games up to Saturday, but his attitude in training was top, top drawer. Pavel hasn’t played for the last three or four games but he just works really, really hard and is a real team man. Noel Hunt, nobody needs to tell me about Noel Hunt – what a great team man he’s been here and what fantastic value he’s been for Reading – and Jason Roberts, speaks for himself.
“It’s about being a team within a team and helping each other, whoever plays. And that’s the ethos for the whole group. We’ve done that before with our wingers, we’ve got four really, really good wingers here – same with the defenders, full backs – everyone’s the same.
“I said to Adam 'it could be you today' – it might be you off the bench Pavel, it might be you Noel – whoever. I talk about the game we have to play, the team is picked and the two guys on the bench support the guys on the pitch.
“I feel it’s about the right team for the occasion you’re playing. Managers in the past have talked about never changing a winning team, I don’t necessarily buy into that. You look at the opposition you’ve got to play, you look at the strengths that we’ve got and we pick a team off the back of that.”
Everyone at Hogwood Park remains level headed after the opening league win of the season, though that's not to say that it wasn't a welcome boost - and one aspect of the victory will certainly be retained for the trip to Wigan's DW Stadium!
“Not winning is a burden, of course it is – it’d be wrong of me to say it wasn’t. We’ve got that lifted now, we got a clean sheet against Norwich – that’s something to build on. It’s got to buoy us it really has.
“By definition getting a win gives you a lift, but really the place didn’t need lifting – everyone is in a really good place. We won a load of games at the back end of last season and the place was the same as it was last week. We’re just going about our business, doing what we have to do and looking forward to our next game.
"I think I'll probably wear the suit again. I made a decision at about 1pm not to get changed last week and to stick to the suit. I just thought, I’m 51 now – maybe I’m too old to wear a tracksuit!"