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Manager in depth

13 December 2013

Q&A with Ady Williams

Royals manager Nigel Adkins spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of this Saturday's trip to Huddersfield. Read the Q&A from the boss' chat with former player and BBC Berkshire's Ady Williams. You can listen to BBC Radio Berkshire's Weekend Kick-Off Show, which starts at 6pm on Friday night.

AW: First of all, Danny Guthrie has been a huge member of the squad this season and for him to be missing this weekend must be a big loss?

NA: Danny has been outstanding for us this season. He's got an array of passes in his locker - that's what we want to do, go and pass the ball and create opportunity. And Danny is a pivotal member of the team to go and do that. He's had the captain's armband too, of late, with Jobi McAnuff and Sean Morrison out. He's right up there as the best in the division with his assists and his passing ratio - and the goals as well from midfield.

AW: He's been the player to try and control the game from midfield - I suppose you'll be looking for someone else to take the mantle?

NA: That's the opportunity now for somebody else to get on the ball - we want all the players to pass the ball. Short and long, an array of passes. For me, if we want to be successful, we've got to be a team that's better in possession of the ball. If you keep giving the ball to the opposition then the more likely it is that they're going to score. The vision is that we want to get ourselves back to the next level and to do that we've got to give ourselves the opportunity to be a better possession based team. We practice with the football every day. We want the players to be comfortable on the ball - to pass it, to move it.

AW: Depending on team selection, you could be looking at for your fourth skipper this season?

NA: It's an interesting one. Through pre-season I gave a couple of players the armband as well. Ideally you want to have a leadership group. I think there was an Australian hockey team - the coach was very controversial in that he didn't actually have a captain. He wanted all of them to be a captain, and I think that's what we're endeavoring to do. We want people to have that leadership ability on the pitch and go and lead in different ways. Whether that's by leading by example, being organised or putting a good tackle in.

AW: I don't like to bring up your first home defeat - but on reflection how do you think you played in the first half against Bournemouth?

NA: I think the big thing for me is that goals change the complexion of games. I thought we were in total domination of the game in the first half - we had 60% possession, 32 crosses, 12 corners, 44 throw-ins. But if one person has a lapse in concentration, and doesn't do his job then it presents the opportunity for the opposition. We were punished for that - the opposition came with a mindset to play with one striker and fill the midfielder, and we nullified that. We stopped them playing well and had good possession of the football. We had enough opportunities but didn't work the goalkeeper enough times.

AW: Is it a question about the delivery or about the numbers in the box?

NA: When I looked at it, we had gone with a front three to start the game, with Billy down the middle and Hal on the left and Garath down the right. The idea was that when we had the ball on one side of the pitch, we always had two strikers in the penalty area - and a player breaking from midfield. There were times that we had really good possession, but as I say goals change games. From being in a very controlled manner during the course of the game, but then we had to go and chase the game a little bit. We changed the formation twice in the second half - maybe a little bit too direct. With the opposition sitting deeper maybe we played into their hands a little bit too much.

AW: Do you think it was a case that we could have put our neck on the line to save the first goal?

NA: The marking could have been better - there's responsibility on the pitch. It's a set play, everyone has got clearly defined roles and responsibilities but sometimes people knock off. You can't do that because we get punished, and we got punished in a big way at the weekend. It's a shame because for me, we started well. The game is not won over half an hour, you've got play 95 minutes. It's a shame the unbeaten record is now gone but now what we've got to do is regroup and get ready for the next game.

AW: The next game is Huddersfield - a side going quietly about their business and more than holding their own in the Championship. Respect for Mark Robins?

NA: Very much so. He's done a great job - they are on a good roll themselves in this moment in time. It takes a bit of time sometimes to get used to it but Mark is an excellent manager - He's played at the top level, he's been an Academy manager and also a manager at a couple of other football clubs. The beauty for me us is that he's a very bright manager in the way that they play - it's the future of football. They play three different formations within the course of the game and they've got that ability to change in possession and out of possession. It's very good to watch and it's going to be a good challenge for us. They've got a striker in form at the moment in Vaughan, and they've got some very good players in there. They've got a very good possession based game so it's one we're looking forward to and one that we've got to have the belief to go and get three points.

AW: One of the huge positives from Bournemouth was Royston Drenthe - he's had another week of training under his belts - will we possibly see him more than 25 minutes on Saturday?

NA: I'm hoping so. You can see he's got undoubtedly ability. Out for 12 weeks is not great but to get half an hour on the pitch the other day can only be beneficial. He's working hard - I'd like to think he's got the bit between his teeth. Maybe we can get him 45 or more now. The question I've got to have in my mind is do I start him? Knowing that it's unlikely that he can finish the game. Or, do you bring him on where he could make a great impact on winning the game. So it's that fine line - obviously we've build his fitness up and he can get stronger and stronger.


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