Royal appointment: Nigel Adkins urges Reading to 'dare to dream'

Former Southampton manager signs contract until 2016

“Dare to dream” was the message Nigel Adkins gave Reading's players after taking over at the relegation-threatened club today.

Just 67 days after his surprise sacking by Southampton, the 48-year-old has returned to the Barclays Premier League as successor to Brian McDermott - the man that beat him to the npower Championship crown last season.

Adkins has penned a three-year deal at the Madejski Stadium and now has the unenviable task of turning around what looks to be a sinking ship.

Reading are seven points adrift of safety with just eight matches remaining, but the new manager exuded confidence at his unveiling today.

"You have got to have belief," Adkins said. "You have got to dare to dream.

"Can we dare to dream that we're going to win the amount of games that we've got to go and accumulate the points? We've got to.

"What we've got is spirit - that is the big thing that you've always seen here at Reading.

"There is a spirit and camaraderie amongst the players and that is invaluable, especially at the latter stages of a season.

"It will take you a hell of a long way as it was demonstrated last season with the run Reading went on.

"We've got to believe and I know, having spoken with Brian and other people here at Reading, there was a belief that there were games here at the end of the season to go and win. I think that gives us a great start."

The news of McDermott's sacking broke when Adkins was in Germany, where he was spending a week with Bundesliga club Hamburg.

The former Saints boss was initially understood not to have not been interested in the Royals post, with reports suggesting he even turned the job down at one point.

Brighton manager Gus Poyet also rejected the opportunity to replace McDermott and Adkins was keen not to discuss the process that saw him appointed.

"I am the Reading manager so we can talk about discussions that might have gone on previously but we look to the future," said the new Royals boss, who also rejected talk he spoke to Leeds at the weekend.

"I have just been appointed the Reading manager. I am very happy about that and we look forward with positivity and I think that's important."

Adkins, who is joined by assistant Andy Crosby, headed straight to the club's Hogwood Park training base after the press conference as he prepares for a hectic start to life at the helm.

His first home game is a mouth-watering clash with former club Southampton, although this weekend's trip to Arsenal comes first.

"It is quite an interesting challenge because first and foremost we've got to amongst the players," Adkins said.

"Some aren't going to get back until Thursday afternoon and we have a game on Saturday so, hey, it is a great challenge to put all that together.

"It is one I am really looking forward to. I have been out of work for a couple of months and you kick your heels."

Adkins was one of six on the top table at this morning's unveiling, taking centre stage alongside Reading owner Anton Zingarevich.

The Russian has come under criticism for sacking McDermott and failing to adequately strengthen the Royals squad.

However, Zingarevich laid the blame at McDermott's door, highlighting a failure to recruit in the January transfer window.

"What has been tough in the summer is that we didn't have any scouting at all," he said.

"The idea was to bring players in the summer and then do more in January.

"We tried to sign very big players in January but we weren't really successful. I thought we should have done more."

Zingarevich, looking uncomfortable at times, defended the timing of McDermott's sacking and believes Adkins can take the club "to the next level".

He also rejected the notion that the Royals are all but relegated.

"I think we definitely have a good chance [to stay up]," Zingarevich added.

"We are in the Premier League, we have eight games to go, winnable games, so we will do our best and then sit down at the end of the season and decided what we do next."

PA

NIGEL ADKINS FACTFILE

1965: Born March 11, Birkenhead.

1981: Experiences management for the first time as he leads a Sunday League side.

1983: Starts a professional career as a goalkeeper with Tranmere Rovers.

1986: Moves to Wigan, for whom he makes more than 150 appearances.

1993: Takes a player-manager role with Bangor City, winning league titles in 1994 and 1995 and qualifying for Europe at the same time. Has to retire from playing after breaking his back.

1996: Joins Scunthorpe as a physio having gained a degree at Salford University.

2006 - November: Put in caretaker charge of Scunthorpe after Brian Laws leaves to take over at Sheffield Wednesday.

December 6: Given the job on a full-time basis and Scunthorpe go on to win League One.

2008: Scunthorpe are relegated from the Championship under Adkins.

2009 - April: Adkins takes Scunthorpe to the LDV Trophy final which they lose to Luton, but guides them back to the Championship via the play-offs.

2010 - September 12: After keeping Scunthorpe in the Championship, Adkins moves to Southampton, replacing Alan Pardew.

2011 - May 7: Wins promotion from League One.

2012 - April 28: Becomes the first Southampton manager to win back-to-back promotions as Southampton head to the Premier League.

2013 - January 16: Saints come back from 2-0 down at European champions Chelsea to secure a 2-2 draw.

January 18: With Southampton 15th in the Premier League, Adkins is sacked and replaced by Mauricio Pochettino.

March 25: Named as Reading boss on a deal until the summer of 2016.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public