Adkins diet should pay off in long run

Wednesday 3rd April 2013 10:28

Adkins: Defeat at Arsenal on Saturday

Adkins: Defeat at Arsenal on Saturday

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Reading may have lost heavily at Arsenal on Saturday, but Royals FanZoner Stephen Dempsey is encouraged by the approach from Nigel Adkins.

The appointment of Nigel Adkins by Reading could be seen in two ways.

Some will say that it was ill thought-out and the result of sacking Brian McDermott without having a planned replacement in mind while others will say he was an obvious choice if Anton Zingarevich was looking to build for the future.

Before Saturday's game at Arsenal, I admit that I was sitting in the first camp. We replaced an up-and-coming British manager, who had been successful in the lower leagues with... the same bloke but with a less shiny head.

However, I thought I'd wait for Adkins' first game in charge before casting judgement - and I'm glad I did, as I thought the performance was our most promising of the season.

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. Yes, we conceded four goals and some of the defending from our back four would have been hilarious if it wasn't so embarrassing (Mikele Leigertwood's nonchalant back-heel to the oncoming Arsenal attack was a particular highlight).

Similarly, to call our attacking efforts toothless would be a pretty huge understatement. You couldn't blame Pavel Pogrebnyak if he struggled to tell the difference between his role in Saturday's game and his role in the three matches before it. Same old, same old from Reading - another humiliating defeat against an Arsenal side that has enjoyed dismantling our team twice this season already. So what silver lining can we pull from this car crash of a match?

The key thing that stood out for me about Adkins' side, even on this early evidence, is that they tried to get the ball down and pass it. Stuart Taylor and Leigertwood aside (understandably in the first case and expectedly in the second), every player tried to keep possession and pass the ball about. This went about as well as you'd expect after three years of what can euphemistically be called 'long-ball' tactics but it's a start. You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs and Nigel has a few to break to turn this side into a slick passing outfit.

Will Adkins save Reading from relegation? Probably not, regardless of the size of the bonus he's been offered. But even after three days in charge, there has been a noticeable change in the style of this Reading side and it's one for the better. This season hasn't been great fun to watch as a Reading fan but this isn't just because we're losing almost every week, but because we never play football with any sort of fluency and with minimal entertainment value. Though it was difficult to see the difference between Adkins and McDermott at first glance, it seems that Nigel's appointment could have a welcome and significant impact on our football club.

So my support is firmly in Adkins' corner, whatever the last few games of this season bring. The process of turning this rag-tag side into a slick-passing outfit is one that will be long and hard but I think he could be the man to get us through it. Welcome Nigel and good luck - you're going to need it.

By Stephen Dempsey, FanZone's Reading blogger. Follow us on Twitter at @FanZone!

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