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Adkins ready for right Royal scrap
Reading manager Nigel Adkins vowed the Royals will battle for their Barclays Premier League lives against Southampton on Saturday.
Adkins has taken charge of a side who are bottom of the table, seven points adrift of safety and on a run of seven consecutive defeats.
In a twist of fate, Adkins' first home match as Reading manager will be against his former club.
And he believes that victory over Southampton at the Madejski Stadium could be just the catalyst Reading need to pull off a great escape.
"You won't be in our dressing room if you think it is a lost cause," he said.
"The opposition are in a good vein of form but we are at home. We have to get the three points at the weekend. It is very close down there. We need to get some victories under our belt.
"These are the two teams that finished first and second in the Championship last season. There were some good games last season, it was a good game this year at St Mary's.
"You have to have a good home record. It is very important and there is an inner belief that we can win our games (at the Madejski Stadium)."
Adkins has predicted Southampton will finish in the top 10 but he will know the squad better than his successor Mauricio Pochettino having enjoyed back-to-back promotions at the club.
"Our players will be be well versed on what will be required," Adkins said.
"With every opposition team, every player in the opposition is a threat. 'Never underestimate your opponent' that is in Sun Tzu's Art of War.
"That's something we've always talked about.
"We've got to be passionate about what we do. We've always preached about keeping possession of the football, but when the opposition have the ball you've got to put them under enough pressure so you can get the ball back off them.
"The players, I like to think, will be organised for the weekend."
Jimmy Kebe has been ruled out of the game as he continues to recover from a groin problem but otherwise Adkins reported a fully-fit squad.
Adkins must decide who to start in goal. Adam Federici and Alex McCarthy are both looking to claim the goalkeeper's jersey from Stuart Taylor after overcoming ankle and shoulder injuries respectively.
Southampton face former boss Adkins brimming with confidence although successor Pochettino will not allow complacency to sneak in.
Just 78 days after being sacked by Saints, Adkins will go head-to-head with his replacement.
The south-coast side go into the clash following back-to-back victories over Liverpool and Chelsea, which have propelled them to a comfortable-looking 12th place, but Pochettino insists his side will not be getting carried away.
"In football to have confidence is really important," the Argentinian said
"Yeah, we are really confident after those wins but it is equally important to maintain a focus and we need to be mentally focused for the games ahead.
"It also happens in football than when you become overconfident you start to lose games so as well as being confident, we need to be mentally focused.
"We need to focus and we need to maintain how we felt against Chelsea and Liverpool before facing them.
"We felt really motivated, really confident so we need to keep that mental preparation.
"But I do think against Reading we are going to face a really tough opponent so we have been warned that we really need to be mentally focused and confident at the same time."
Southampton's chances of a victory at the Madejski Stadium have been boosted by the news that Artur Boruc and Adam Lallana should be fit after a virus and groin problem respectively.
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