ANDY Rinomhota insists a “gutted” Marc McNulty has the full backing of his Reading FC teammates despite his agonising penalty miss at Leeds United.

McNulty blew the chance to snatch a dramatic draw at Elland Road on Tuesday night when his last-gasp spot-kick was saved by Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

The 1-0 defeat ended Reading’s three-match unbeaten run and meant they picked up only one point from successive games in the north following Saturday’s goalless stalemate at Wigan.

But Rinomhota has told McNulty he should not beat himself up about his spot-kick blunder which denied the 26-year-old Scotsman his first goal for the club.

“Obviously Marc’s gutted but it could happen to anyone,” declared Leeds-born Rinomhota, who was one of Reading’s standout performers.

“He’s put it in the corner and the keeper has made a fantastic save. It’s one of those at the end of the day, it’s football and it happens.

“With Wigan at the weekend, we came away with a draw and we could have had a draw at Leeds.

“That would have been a good two draws away from home, but we’ve got confidence going into the home game on Saturday against Stoke.

“Hopefully we’ll go in with our heads high and continue to perform well.”

Reading Chronicle:

Reading's Danny Loader sees a chance go begging at Leeds United on his full league debut.

Under-pressure Royals boss Paul Clement has delved into the Academy to look for answers to his side’s dismal start to the campaign that has produced just four wins in 18 games to leave them 20th in the Championship table.

And there has been a marked improvement in performances in the last two matches during which teenage striker Danny Loader made his league debut and Rinomhota impressed once again.

“It was a difficult one to take,” added Rinomhota. “The lads put in a big shift and we kept Leeds to limited chances while creating chances ourselves.

“We’d limited them in the first half and we started the second half well, carried on pushing and we were unlucky not to come away with a point.”

Reading could be boosted by the return of Mo Barrow for Saturday’s home clash with mid-table Stoke City (3pm ko) after the winger missed the last two games through illness.

Keeper Vito Mannone and forward Sam Baldock could also be in contention after recovering from knocks.

And Rinomhota hopes he has done enough to earn a fifth successive Championship start.

“I was happy to keep my place after Wigan on Saturday, I’ll keep working hard to continue to do so and hopefully build it a foundation ahead,” he added.