NIGEL Adkins has spoken of his pride after being announced as Tranmere's permanent manager following his recent caretaker stint at Prenton Park.

The former Southampton and Sheffield United boss becomes Rovers' latest manager after an interim spell following the sacking of Ian Dawes in September.

Since then Rovers have won just two games in nine and slipped into the League Two relegation zone but the experienced Adkins has been handed a contract until the end of next season.

"It's an honour and a privilege to represent my hometown club and the team I have supported since I was a youngster," said Adkins. "I used to stand behind the goal and try and run on the pitch to get Ronnie Moore's tie ups and went on to represent the club as a player so to be asked to take over is an honour and a massive responsibility.

"From my point of view we are in a situation where we needed clarity - the chairman has asked me to step up and take over on a permanent basis and I believe I have responsibility to do everything I can to help Tranmere Rovers Football Club."

The 58-year-old was made technical director in the summer before taking over first-team affairs in September after Dawes was sacked but he denied that the managerial role was one that he had always been earmarked for.

"It was not on my mind at all," he said. "I am based down in Hampshire and the whole idea was that I would come up for a couple of days a week to help out the medical team and the new manager and maybe make some observations as time went on.

"Obviously rather quickly I was asked to step up to be the interim manager and since then it has been full on and I've been trying to do everything I can to help the group of players, the staff, the football club and the fans to keep some stability around the place. I'd like to think we've achieved that in respect of the training ground because the culture and the environment has been bang on .

"Like every football club we've had a situation with injuries and suspensions and things haven't gone our way but the owner has asked me to continue and I will anything I can to help Tranmere Rovers.

"I'd like to think it provides clarity for everybody - we've got a January transfer window coming up but we've got to get the best out of the group we've got now and prepare for the next window in order to reinforce what we've got.

"From my point of view it's the here and the now and I've got to get all my energy and focus and take out the white noise and get some points on the board and win some games of football.

"I am very intense, I'm full on and I'm authentic but I'm passionate about my job and I'm passionate about the team I support. I'm passionate about the players and the staff and I want to help develop them as much as possible but at the moment we are in a difficult situation and that means everyone needs to tow the line and provide positive energy - it's us against everyone else and if we start having as pop at each other we'll lose people."

Tranmere are second-bottom in League Two, three points adrift of safety after four successive defeats and visit League One Stevenage in the FA Cup first round on Saturday with Adkins denying there should be any perceived respite from the league campaign. 

"The pressure should be on," he said. "You're a professional football player representing the club and with that comes a responsibility.

"We are under no illusions - Steve Evans has loads of promotions under his belt and Stevenage play in a way that is very difficult to play against and they're doing really well in League One.

"It will be a challenging game but we've got to focus on us and put ourselves in a situation where we can win the next game of football."    

From the FA Cup runs of 2000 and 2004 to the 'giant killings' of Everton and Arsenal, Rovers have a long tradition with the competition and Adkins is no different in his love for the 'magic of the cup'.

"As a youngster the FA Cup final was the highlight of the year for me," he added. "The build up lasted a whole day and it was special and full of wonderful memories.

"The save from Jim Montgomery for Sunderland against Leeds - I was a goalkeeper so that stood out for me and you'd go and play in the garden afterwards and replicate what had happened.

"As a player I missed out in 1987 with Wigan when we got to the quarter final as I'd fractured my wrist and as a manager I've got to the fifth round.

"It's special as a fan, as a manager, as a coach and as a player and I want my team to do well in the FA Cup.

"We all want a FA Cup run but we've been dealt a tough hand with this game - no one probably gives us a chance but the beauty of the FA Cup means you always have a dream."