Following the ill-timed dismissal of Brian McDermott just prior to the Royals’ trip to Old Trafford almost two weeks ago, Reading have been searching for a new boss to take charge of the clubs desperate fight for Premier League survival. The names of Di Canio, Poyet and even Dick Advocaat have come and gone in the past fortnight and former Southampton boss Nigel Adkins who like McDermott was sacked in acrimonious circumstances is the preferred choice of club owner Anton Zingarevich, to help steer the club away from a return to England’s second division.
It has been said in the midst of the international break that McDermott was released from his post as club manager due to the fact he did not spend enough money in the January market, it is believed that Zingarevich had set out a budget to bring in a number of relatively big name players including his fellow countryman Andrei Arshavin from Arsenal however McDermott reneged on these deals to the disappointment of Zingarevich.
However, if this is the case, why wasn’t McDermott released as soon as the transfer window ended? Surely it makes no sense for a club to keep a manager on for a couple of months if you end up sacking him as a result of things that happened long before? Reading winger Jimmy Kebe has also run foul of Zingarevich’s ownership in recent weeks with the Mali international stating it was in fact Zingarevich who was reluctant to part with money for transfers and Brian McDermott had been simply told to work with what he already had, so already a conflict of opinions have already appeared on the reasons for McDermott’s dismissal.
After being appointed just yesterday Nigel Adkins has already given his first words to the associated press as Reading manager with the former Saints boss mentioning a recurring theme of dreams and belief.
[quote]”We’ve got to believe we can do it [avoid relegation]”[/quote]
It is certain Adkins is trying to build an air of confidence within his side heading into the final eight games already seven points adrift of safety however Reading have shown time and time again they can score goals against any team in the Premier League it is defending that has been the main issue for the Royals with needless and indeed avoidable goals being conceded too often.
Adkins stated he was “excited” to be in charge of a Premier League team once again and was determined to make it clear that his Reading side would scrap to stay in the division, his side would have to dare to win enough of their remaining games. Adkins’ first match in charge is this weekend’s trip to the Emirates to face an Arsenal side who buoyed by their recent win away at Swansea are clawing their way back into the top four. It will no doubt be a tough opening fixture for Adkins and Reading with the more than likely result being a defeat however should that be the case, Adkins has two straight home games against his former club Southampton and Liverpool which he simply must take at least three points from in order to keep Reading’s fight for survival alive.
Anton Zingarevich after appointing Adkins has said he will fully support his new manager as well as criticising former boss McDermott “There was always a budget and we should have done more in January,”
In the eight games remaining there are some tough matches for Adkins, namely Arsenal away, Manchester City at home and potentially a crunch match away at West Ham United on the final day of the season. However there are a number of fixtures which Reading simply must win in order to avoid relegation, the first being against Southampton at home especially with Southampton showing signs of inconsistency under Mauricio Pochettino, the next being Liverpool at home, which may seem like a tough ask considering Liverpool’s post January form however they have continued to show signs of defensive frailties which could allow Reading chances. Finally the trip to Norwich on April 20th is another match Reading have to take points from, in a relegation battle you have to beat the teams around you and try and nick points of the teams above you when possible and Adkins has to hit the ground running in his first home game to set the right tone for the relegation fight ahead.
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