West Bromwich Albion
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Adkins admits he is favourite for sack

Nigel Adkins has shrugged aside his billing as bookies' favourite to become the first Premier League managerial casualty of the season by insisting he remains the right man to lead beleaguered Southampton.

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• West Brom 2-0 Southampton

Pressure, from boardroom level at least, is growing on the man who has led the club to two successive promotions, after a 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion that leaves them marooned at the foot of the table.

But Adkins has no intention of ducking his responsibility to try to stave off the growing threat of relegation and says he doesn't need the type of public backing recently given to QPR manager Mark Hughes.

"I don't think anybody needs to give anybody a vote of confidence," he said. "If you do that, people just turn round and say, 'Oh, he's got the dreaded vote of confidence'.

"If I don't believe we can come through this, the players aren't going to believe it. I have to make them ten feet tall with belief when they cross that line.

"The supporters, as you have heard, are behind the players and myself. But I know what happens...I've been in football all my life.

"Someone is always going to be favourite to be the first Premier League manager to go and, if you are bottom of the table, you are probably going to be the favourite.

"We've played ten games, eight of which have been against opposition in the top ten, but it doesn't matter who you play because every game is going to be challenging in the Premier League. This is the reality and this is where we are. We'll keep working away, and it'll eventually turn."

Adkins was critical of the defending that brought Peter Odemwingie's two goals, although there was a strong suggestion of handball in the build-up to the first.

He also pointed to Rickie Lambert's shot against the underside of the bar early in the second half but is ready for the fight ahead.

"Without a shadow of a doubt I am," he said. "I am standing here a far better manager than when I came to Southampton.

"I'm more experienced and I have a hunger and desire to keep leading this football club. It's my responsibility to lead from the front and that's what I will do.

"I can't control the decisions that the people at the top have got to make but there's a positivity about me in everything I do. I am proud and privileged to be the manager here.

"I want to embrace the challenge and I want to be here as long as I can."


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