LEE NOVAK is ready to make an impact at Exeter on Saturday – and beyond.
But the in-form frontman, who struck a stoppage-time goal after coming off the bench for the third time in four matches to seal Saturday’s key victory over Colchester United, has no desire to be known as supersub!
“Some of the lads are already calling me that,” quipped the 14-goal Geordie ace, whose volley kept alive his side’s outside hopes of winning promotion automatically rather than through the League I play-offs.
“I’m delighted to have sealed a big, big win for us, and I’ll take any role the manager wants me to, but long term, I’d obviously rather be starting matches than coming off the bench.”
The 21-year-old close-season arrival from Gateshead was a regular in Lee Clark’s first XI before picking up the knee injury which threatened to end his season early against Norwich in March.
In his five-match absence, Theo Robinson has staked a claim, but Novak has still been making an impression since returning for the 4-3 win against Walsall last month.
He shot home in stoppage time to cap a dramatic Town comeback in that game, then netted a post-90 minute penalty to complete the 6-0 victory at Stockport which confirmed a top-six spot for Town.
“It’s an all-round effort, and Theo has come in and done brilliantly,” added Novak.
“He stayed patient while he was on the bench, and now he’s the player with the shirt and it’s down to me to keep plugging away to win back my starting place.”
Town must win at Exeter in Saturday’s last regular-season game and hope other results go their way to have a chance of pipping Leeds, Millwall, Swindon and Charlton to the second automatic promotion place alongside champions Norwich.
Otherwise it’s a two-legged play-off semi-final showdown against one of those four sides, with third in the final table playing sixth and fourth taking on fifth, the higher club having home advantage in the second leg.
“We’ll simply going to go all out to win and see where it takes us,” added Novak.
“Automatic promotion would be unbelievable, but we know the play-offs are more likely.”