Adkins excited by Mersey return

Nigel Adkins
Nigel Adkins is from Merseyside. Photo: PA

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins insists the fact he is a Liverpool fan does not provide any extra incentive to win at Everton.

The Saints boss grew up on Merseyside and was a schoolboy at Liverpool, before moving onto Tranmere and coming through the youth system there.

Adkins - like talisman Rickie Lambert - supports the Anfield club, making Saturday's Premier League trip to Everton all the more intriguing.

The Southampton boss, though, was quick to downplay his connections to the red side of the city in the build-up.

"Whoever we play against we want to go and win a game of football," Adkins said.

"There are three teams on Merseyside: Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere.

"Obviously I played for Tranmere as an apprentice and a professional and I used to stand behind the goal and run onto the pitch after the game to try and get Ronnie Moore's tie-ups.

"It is great to see Tranmere Rovers doing so well with Ronnie in charge.

"I was actually a schoolboy at Liverpool but before I signed for them I had a couple of weeks at Everton.

"I decided to go to Liverpool and then I want to Tranmere after that.

"Goodison Park has a great atmosphere. They are passionate football supporters there so I am looking forward to it because there will be a great atmosphere."

While excited about the prospect of tomorrow's match, Adkins is wary of the challenge that awaits them in the north west.

The Toffees have bucked the trend of recent years by starting the campaign well and the Saints boss is impressed with the way the club has developed under David Moyes.

"It is a tough game and one we are looking forward to," Adkins said.

"Goodison Park is a real challenging place to go. I am from Merseyside, I've been there on numerous occasions and you know that the supporters there are very passionate.

"They demand the players do well and Everton are probably having the best start they've had for many, many years.

"I think David Moyes has done a great job there if you look at it. You talk about stability, he has been there for over 10 years now.

"There is a stable, good working relationship between the chairman and the manager.

"There is stability and continuity with the players. They know how they want to play and I must say that they are very, very effective with how they play.

"I think they are going to be right up there come the end of the season. They play good football and very effective football.

"Over a period of time they've been able to learn, to evolve and keep improving and that has been demonstrated by the start they've had this season."

Southampton will have to do with Jack Cork on Merseyside after the midfielder injured his left knee in Tuesday's Capital One Cup third-round victory over Sheffield Wednesday - his first game back after sustaining an ankle complaint in pre-season.

Japan international Tadanari Lee will also miss out with an elbow injury, while Emmanuel Mayuka and Luke Shaw are both doubts with an ankle problem and illness respectively.

Adam Lallana is available after the birth of his son and new signing Artur Boruc could be involved in the squad for the first time.