- Birthplace: Birkenhead
- Previous Clubs: Bangor, Scunthorpe, Southampton
- Honors: League of Wales: 1994, 1995; League One: 2007
Nigel Adkins, though a professional goalkeeper, has had to work his way from the bottom to make his way to English football's top table.
Having been a Liverpool youth player, Adkins left for Fourth Division side Tranmere in 1983 and, while there, the 18-year-old goalkeeper took charge of Renbad Rovers in the Birkenhead Sunday League fifth division.
He had moved to Wigan in 1986, spending the bulk of his career playing for the Latics in the Third Division, and in 1993 accepted a player-manager role with Welsh side Bangor City. He led the club to consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995 and, while there, managed to complete a part-time BSc in physiotherapy.
He left in 1996 and became Scunthorpe's physio, spending a decade in the role before returning to management when put in caretaker charge of the club in November 2006 following Brian Laws' departure to Sheffield Wednesday. He was named permanent manager the following month, and led the club to the League One title.
Scunthorpe were relegated from the Championship but, keeping the faith in Adkins, were promoted again via the play-offs in 2008-09 and then retained their Championship status the following season.
In September 2010, he was appointed Southampton manager. The Saints were then 22nd in League One but, with greater financial potential, Adkins gambled on a new challenge. His decision was vindicated: he guided Southampton to promotion after finishing second, while Scunthorpe finished at the foot of the Championship.
In his second season in charge, Adkins kept Southampton in the top two in the Championship for an entire season, eventually securing second spot - and a place in the Premier League - with a 4-0 victory over Coventry on the final day. However, he was sacked midway through the season, as the Saints struggled to avoid the relegation battle.
Adkins did not stay out of the game long, though, as he was announced as the new manager of Reading at the end of March.
Strengths: Adkins adopts a positive and upbeat approach, has a good record in the transfer market, researches the opposition thoroughly and is committed to playing passing football.
Weaknesses: He can struggle when his team is unable to take control of games and the lack of a plan B is a worry.
Career high: Beating Coventry 4-0 to secure promotion to the Premier League.
Career low: Suffering relegation from the Championship with Scunthorpe in the 2007-08 season.
Tactics: Adkins has favoured the 4-4-2 formation, attempting to impose a passing game on the opposition.
Quotes: "It's a very positive future and we are very, very ambitious. We are not thinking of just getting enough points to stay up. We've got to drive on, strive to be the best, and Europe is obviously the goal" - Nigel Adkins, July 2012.
Trivia: As well as a BSc in physiotherapy, Adkins has a business studies degree.
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