EDDIE Howe has tipped Reading boss Nigel Adkins to make a return to English football’s top-flight and complete his “unfinished business”.

Adkins has built a healthy reputation in the Football League after winning two promotions with both Scunthorpe and Southampton, before being controversially sacked by the Saints in January last year.

His departure from St Mary’s meant he lasted only half a season as a Premier League manager, but Howe backed the Royals boss to return to the top-flight soon.

Howe said: “He will want to have another crack at the Premier League and has probably got unfinished business there because it was such a short time.

“It goes without saying what a great job he did at Southampton with two promotions and he really led their recovery. That was a huge achievement but now he’s at Reading and he will be building to try and repeat his earlier success.

“They were one of the fancied teams to be in the promotion mix at the start of the season and they are, so I think he has done a very good job.”

Howe will pit his wits against a man who has presided over just five defeats in 20 away games this season and the Dean Court boss is wary of the dangers this evening’s visitors will present.

He added: “Reading’s away record has been excellent, so I think that provides a warning to us of what they are capable of on the road.

“It proves that we need to be well-prepared for a really tough examination.”

Howe reported no new injuries for the clash but midfielder Harry Arter begins a three-match suspension following his red card against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.