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Every second counts as Le Fondre looks to rediscover lethal goal ratio

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Looking back over Adam Le Fondre’s career record, it is little wonder Wanderers fans were clamouring for the club to sign him up.

Over the course of 13 years, 455 games and four different divisions, the striker has managed to keep up an enviable record of one goal every 165 minutes of football he has played.

His deadly Premier League ratio of a goal every 124 minutes is bettered only by a small handful of players – including Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry.

Lower down the leagues, Le Fondre has gained notoriety at Reading, Rotherham, Rochdale and Stockport – and is well on his way to becoming a Bolton favourite despite only signing a permanent deal with Wanderers yesterday.

Despite all those impressive numbers, the 30-year-old still finds himself with a point to prove. By his own admission, Le Fondre has made some bad career choices in the last two seasons.

A move from Reading to Cardiff ended miserably, his first real barren spell prompting the Bluebirds to hawk him out on loan for two-and-a-half seasons, leading up to the expiry of his contract this June.

Though Le Fondre temporarily found a spiritual home in two temporary stints with Bolton – his decision to join Wolves and Wigan Athletic in between proved unsuccessful, to say the least.

After leaving Cardiff for the first time and rediscovering his scoring touch at Wanderers under Neil Lennon, Le Fondre ended the 2014/15 campaign with a goal ratio of one every 277.6 minutes – a reasonable return considering his problems settling in South Wales.

Over the next two years in the Championship, however, his goal average hiked up to one goal every 398 minutes, or four-and-a-half games.

It can be argued much of Le Fondre’s football in that spell was played as a substitute, or indeed the teams he played in did not exactly set the world alight.

Yet his Premier League benchmark was also registered in a relegated Reading team with only 11 of his 34 top flight appearances coming from the start. In short, you can’t have it both ways.

Le Fondre will turn 31 in December, an age generally regarded as a footballer’s last big contract, and his two-year commitment with the option of an extra 12 months is a considerable leap of faith on the club’s behalf.

Equally, there was pressure on the player’s behalf to make sure this move was the right one, considering his miserable time at Molineux and the DW Stadium and the consequent questions over whether he can still score regular goals at Championship level.

Wanderers fans are almost unanimous in their agreement he will.

The old saying goes ‘form is temporary but class is permanent’ – and if you view all of Le Fondre’s games in the second tier, his record is right up there with the best of them.

Taking into consideration his time at Reading, plus leaner spells at Cardiff, Wolves and Wigan he has scored a goal every 209 minutes, a decent effort in anyone’s book.

If Le Fondre needed an incentive, however, he has dropped behind proven marksmen like Jordan Rhodes, whose Championship record is a goal every 179 minutes, Chris Wood (185 minutes) and Glenn Murray (167 minutes).

Perhaps the only statistic which matters is Le Fondre’s ability to score goals at Bolton – something he has achieved whether it be in the Championship or League One.

He scored eight times in his first loan stint and added another six last season, leaving him with a record of one goal every 202 minutes.

Le Fondre still has some catching up to do to match one of Wanderers’ most lethal marksmen – Ivan Klasnic, who netted a goal every 151 minutes.

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