HE MAY not have played as many games as he would have liked, but Joseph Mendes will always be remembered by the Reading FC faithful.

His time in Berkshire has been plagued by serious injury problems and major operations, something which was not picked up on when he completed his move from French outfit Le Havre.

Mendes was restricted to just 20 appearances during his time at Madejski Stadium, which will end when his current deal runs out at the end of June.

Often playing understudy to Yann Kermorgant when he was fit and available, the 27-year-old struggled to adapt to Reading’s style of play.

In fact, he was once criticised by Jaap Stam for failing to adapt to the English game.

So it was a bold move to field Mendes when Royals travelled to Villa Park in April 2017 with their play-off ambitions still very much alive.

The week before, Royals had been demolished in a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Norwich City, so boss Stam was keen to give somebody else a try.

And it was an afternoon which would transform Mendes from an injury-plagued flop to a cult hero in RG2.

The powerful forward notched either side of a rare Lewis Grabban goal to move Royals into fourth place in the Championship table.

Mendes came flying out of the blocks and could barely be contained by the confidence-bereft Villa defence.

Steve Bruce’s side gave the ball away early on after some intense pressure from Lewis Grabban, who slipped Mendes through on goal.

The centre-forward dragged the ball to the right before blasting it beyond a helpless Sam Johnstone, sending the away fans into raptures.

Stam’s side were almost immediately pegged back through James Chester’s header, but Mendes was determined to be the star of the show that afternoon.

And almost immediately after the restart, he had Royals back in front at Villa Park.

Adrian Popa set Grabban away down the right wing and the pacey forward outstripped Villa’s back line before whipping a delightful ball towards the far post.

Mendes time his run to perfection and stole a yard on his marker before stroking the ball past Johnston.

It was the one and only time Reading fans really got to see the best of Mendes, but it was an afternoon which will not be forgotten.

A menace on the pitch and a gentleman off it, he’ll be missed by supporters when his contract officially expires at the end of June.

But I’m confident calls to ‘unleash the Mendes’ will go on for years to come.