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Adkins: Competition key

21 February 2014

Manager praises midfield duo

Nigel Adkins believes a strong competition for places has helped to push the Royals into their current impressive run of form.

Despite a number of injuries hampering the squad throughout the current campaign, the manager says he has been delighted to see certain players take advantage of the opportunities that have come their way.

“We’ve highlighted the need for competition for places, the need to deal with injuries and suspensions as they come along,” said Adkins.

“For example Hope Akpan and Danny Williams in the middle of the park, because of Danny Guthrie picking up a bit of an injury – Hope has gone in there and done ever so well. Danny Guthrie is now fit, but we’ve got that competition for places. We always knew Hope’s capabilities, he’s taken the opportunity very well. I thought him and Danny Williams in the last game ran over the opposition's midfield. If we can maximise everybody’s ability the play will improve and we will improve as a team.”

With Blackburn the opposition on Saturday, Reading will look to build on the goalless draw at Ewood Park earlier in the season – an occasion which the manager believes saw his side unfortunate not to pick up a victory.

“The first half up there we weren’t able to deal with their midfield, but we changed it around, made a couple of changes at half time and dominated the second half. We played some good football and had a clear penalty not given that could quite easily have seen us come away with three points.

“Blackburn are a good side. Gary Bowyer has gone in there and settled everything down, there’s a nice bit of stability in there now and they’re vying for a play-off place. But our foot is firmly down on the pedal at the moment and we’re feeling confident.”

Finally - the manager has again hailed the club's Academy and under 21 sides, following the u18s progression to the FA Youth Cup Quarter Final, and a week which saw our development squad beat Arsenal and progress to the semi-finals of the under 21 Premier League Cup.

"The U21s went and beat Arsenal and were by far the better team, they scored some fantastic goals. The 18s and 21s are doing well. as all the academy are – I know the u14s did well going up to Manchester City this week. I look at our Academy set up and they play football the right way."

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