• Former Southampton manager signs until summer of 2016
• 48-year-old replaces Brian McDermott who was sacked

Nigel Adkins was keen to draw a line under the past after being appointed as Reading's new manager on Tuesday. The 48-year-old has signed a contract until summer 2016 to replace Brian McDermott at the Madjeski Stadium, returning to football after a two-month break.

He was surprisingly sacked by Southampton in January despite securing back-to-back promotions and will now lock horns with his old side in a battle for survival. Reading are in a more perilous situation than the Saints – they are second bottom and seven points shy of safety – but meet Adkins' old club in his second game. A trip to Arsenal comes first, though, and Adkins wants to forget about the past.

Speaking for the first time since he left Southampton, he said: "I've not made any comments since I left Southampton and I want to take the opportunity to thank all the people there. I thank the fans, the players and supporters. We were on a fantastic journey but we have to move on now.

"I am pleased to be the Reading manager. We will take it one game at a time and try and keep this club in the Premier League. It's a good club, I've been impressed with them and I've always known what sort of club it is. We're in the Premier League and we want to stay there. I am excited."

Many had sympathy with Adkins after the way he was treated at Southampton and it is typical of how things fall that they will be his second opponent. Survival, however, is Adkins' primary focus.

"I can't talk about Southampton as it's in the hands of the League Managers' Association," he added. "I am looking to the future, I've had two months out and gone around Europe. I'm excited about the future and passionate about playing football."

Reports had suggested Brighton's Gus Poyet was Reading's top target with Adkins not thought to be interested. He addressed that, though, saying: "When it happened with Brian I was in Germany and Reading wasn't on the agenda at the time. We're now looking forward to the next stage together."

The Royals owner Anton Zingarevich agreed the deal with Adkins on Monday night and is happy to have got his man. "I am delighted to bring Nigel to our club because he is perfect for us," the Russian said. "He has great respect within the game, his CV speaks for itself and he has many attributes as a manager, he is progressive, he develops players, his teams play attacking, passing football but most of all he knows how to win games at all levels.

"This is an appointment we have made both with the short and long term in mind and Nigel can take our club forward. I know our supporters have been keen to hear news over the past two weeks and I am certain they will join me in saying it was worth the wait.

"I wish Nigel and Andy nothing but good luck and now we focus on eight hugely important games in the Premier League. Our supporters will also play a vital part in the finale to the season and I am certain Nigel will get an excellent reception from our fans at the Emirates on Saturday."


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