Adkins gave little away on his likely tactics or indeed team news at his pre-match media conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Arsenal, refusing to even confirm whether goalkeeper Adam Federici had shrugged off his ankle injury.
"Normally, if someone is injured and it is obvious that they are out, then it is no good turning around and saying they will be fit, but just at this moment in time we need to somehow come up with that element of surprise and that is what I have to utilise," said Adkins.
"I will use an example I had at Scunthorpe. We had (striker) Gary Hooper and we went to a team, who I won't mention, but there was no way Gary would be fit and we didn't let anyone know.
"All week that team had worked on stopping Gary Hooper and doing certain things.
"We then went and played a totally different way with different personnel, and they were absolutely gutted as they had spent all week working on it.
"If they knew Gary wasn't playing, then they might not have been worried about it so much.
"We are going to the Emirates and it will be a great challenge, but for now, I will keep my cards close to my chest and that might just give us something, or it might not."
Adkins suffered a 6-1 thrashing at the Emirates Stadium with Southampton in September. While his return to tackle the Gunners may have come sooner than expected in the wake of his controversial sacking in January, the 48-year-old intends to make the most of the opportunity.
"It is all about experiences," he said. "The experiences at Bangor, Scunthorpe and Southampton have helped me be the Reading manager. You can be placed in a situation once - make new mistakes, do not make the same mistake twice. If you are in that situation again, you know how you reacted last time and what the outcome was."
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- Gary Hooper