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AFC Bournemouth: Manager Adkins adapting to his Royals appointment
“WHO needs Mourinho? We’ve got our physio...”
While the path taken by opposing bosses Eddie Howe and Reading counterpart Nigel Adkins may be different, it would be fair to say their introductions to Football League management came out of left field.
In November 2006, two years prior to Howe’s step up to the Dean Court hotseat, Scunthorpe United were left stunned by the departure of long-serving manager Brian Laws, who gambled on the thankless task of trying to revive |Sheffield Wednesday’s flagging fortunes.
The Iron patched up their management team by turning to the man who had been tasked with fixing their walking wounded, physiotherapist Adkins.
But any fears over the former Bangor City manager’s credentials were soon swept aside as Adkins secured promotion to the Championship amid crescendos of the now famous chant: “Who needs Mourinho? We’ve got our physio...”
His burgeoning reputation for good football quickly grew despite a rapid relegation to League One at the first attempt before bouncing straight back via the play-offs in 2009.
The following season saw him defy the odds to keep United in the second tier while former boss Laws was relieved of his duties at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday filled one of the relegation places.
That success proved the making of Adkins as he took the brave decision to step down a division with Southampton in September 2010 before crossing swords with Howe for the first time.
A brace of penalties from Rickie Lambert fired Saints to victory in the first league clash between the south coast rivals for 50 years, three months before Howe headed to Burnley.
The current Cherries boss had no joy against Adkins during his stint at Turf Moor with Charlie Austin on the scoresheet against Southampton in a 1-1 draw before Saints striker Billy Sharp – who Adkins recently brought to Reading on loan – netted in a 2-0 win.
Aside from the managers’ meetings, Cherries have failed to claim victory from their past nine trips to Reading, including four visits to the Madejski.
Arguably the closest the Dean Court outfit came to breaking their Berkshire duck was during a last-day showdown in 2001. Wade Elliott’s early strike was followed by Jermain Defoe’s final goal for Cherries.
Martin Butler got one back for the Royals before Elliott made it 3-1, but the hosts scored through Darren Caskey prior to Nicky Forster’s heartbreaker two minutes from time.
More recently, a four-match unbeaten run has seen Reading climb to fifth in the Championship. Burly frontman Pavel Pogrebnyak, who has five league goals so far, could prove a thorn in Cherries’ side alongside Sharp, with top scorer Adam Le Fondre expected to warm the bench.
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