The Royals, who are eight points adrift of safety with six games remaining, host Liverpool on Saturday knowing an eighth successive loss in the competition would all but doom them to relegation.
Yet Adkins insists hope remains provided they can stage a late revival, drawing on last season's drive for promotion from the Championship as inspiration.
"We are where we are in the league, let's not hide away from that. We face an uphill task but all we can do is focus on one game at a time," he said.
"We have to have the mentality of playing winning football and keep looking to the future.
"The momentum has gone against us with the run of results we've had recently, so we need to see if we can establish some momentum.
"Last season this club showed in the Championship that if you get the right momentum you can go the other way as well.
"It's been a positive week on the back of a disappointing 2-0 defeat by Southampton.
"I've been here for a couple of weeks now and the players' attitude and application has been first rate. I'm really pleased about that."