The Royals were below par as they battled to a goalless draw with Brighton on Sunday, a match in which both Pavel Pogrebnyak and Albion's Leonardo Ulloa were sent off.
Adkins' side are already seven points adrift of pace-setters Blackpool and QPR and he knows they cannot afford to drop much further behind.
"We can get so much better and we will do," he said.
"What we have to do is make sure we stay in the race, there's a long, long way to go.
"We want an improvement all the way across the line, that's what we'll be endeavouring to do."