By James Grayson (Twitter: @jamesAgrayson)
Former Leeds United defender Mark Jackson believes Nigel Adkins is the perfect choice to replace Neil Warnock, if the Whites manager steps down at the end of the season.
Jackson, currently assistant manager at Evo Stik Division One North outfit Farsley AFC, played for Scunthorpe United when Adkins was the physio at Glanford Park under Brian Laws.
Adkins, who is believed to be still negotiating his pay-off from Southampton, took over as Scunthorpe manager in 2006 before taking charge at Southampton in 2010.
He led the Saints to back-to-back promotions and into the Premier League and Jackson is convinced that Adkins has the right attributes to lead Leeds.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Nigel for a number of years at Scunthorpe, this was obviously before he went into his managerial post at Scunthorpe and into the public eye,” he said.
“During my time at Scunthorpe when he was the physiotherapist, you could see something in him which has brought him to the managerial table. You saw his philosophy on how he likes his teams to play, his man-management of players and the psychology which is really important.
“He is really positive in everything he does and you see in the interviews he does on Sky Sports that he really is. He’s a forward-thinking manager, a new breed of manager. He is a manager who likes to embrace new ideas and new tactics and not afraid to try something new.
“I think a manager like that is what the game needs now and me being a Leeds supporter, who has been lucky to play for them in the past, I would love to see the days when they were competing in the Premier League back.
“I think a manager of that calibre and a forward-thinking vision would be the man to take them there.”
As a player, Jackson broke through the ranks at Leeds and played 19 times under George Graham in 1997 before moving onto Scunthorpe, Kidderminster, Rochdale and then Farsley in 2007.
He has moved into coaching himself and he points to the success Adkins enjoyed at Southampton as another key reason to why he would like to see him in the Elland Road hotseat.
“There is a lot of luck in management, you drop lucky at the right time, but the way he conducts himself and the way he gets his teams playing is something I like,” he said.
“He gets all his players to buy into what he is doing.
“They may not be the most talented players in the world, with all due respect to them. But if you get them all playing a way and all believing in themselves then you can achieve things. Southampton’s achievements were obviously getting to the Premier League.
“I follow his career and I like what he does and I think Leeds United needs someone like that now.”
Warnock has confirmed in the last few weeks that he won’t be the United manager next season if the club are still in the Championship for the 2013-14 campaign.
Leeds have slipped away from the play-offs in the last two months and Warnock has openly said that he has discussed his successor with the owner GFH Capital.
Leeds and Warnock had huge hopes for promotion this year and Jackson admitted he had believed that Warnock would lead United to promotion.
“It has not panned out the way they hoped and I thought when Neil Warnock was taken on, he was the right man for the job,” he said.
“He had a track record of getting teams promoted and I remember speaking to someone over the phone and saying that I didn’t think it was a long-term thing to get Neil Warnock in. I don’t think he (Warnock) saw it that way. But for whatever reason it hasn’t panned out this year.
“People talk about budgets, but I do think Leeds suffer from the respect of teams coming to Elland Road, a fantastic stadium, and upping their game every time. And we probably haven’t got the quality of players that we need to get us out of the Championship just yet.
“We still have a chance of the play-offs, but it is slipping away so now might be the time to start thinking about the future.”