sport

McDermott admits Leeds concern

Leeds manager Brian McDermott fears uncertainty surrounding the club's ownership is affecting his players after defeat by Reading, while Royals boss Nigel Adkins was thrilled with the win.

Reading roared into a four-goal lead before Leeds regained some pride but with just two wins from their last 15 games, McDermott's men are surely confined to another season outside the top flight.

Reading, on the other hand, underlined their promotion credentials and are undefeated in their last four away matches.

McDermott said: "We would love to get some stability at the club so we can move forward. Uncertainty over the future ownership has been dragging on for such a long time that there is apprehension around the place and the main conversation is about the ownership."

Massimo Cellino's prospective takeover remains shrouded in uncertainty, leaving doubt over McDermott's future as well after the Italian tried to sack him in January.

McDermott said: "Leeds have had a lot of managers in the last 10 or 11 years. I want to try and break that cycle.

"I know it is a results business but we have had no stability here for a long time. Obviously it would help if the manager knew who the owner was going to be."

Reading boss Nigel Adkins was delighted with the away win and said: "They were three very valuable points.

"We were excellent in the first half and deservedly went in one up. We expected Leeds to come at us in the second half but we went on the front foot to score three quick goals.

"Then a goal goes in to lift them and it's immediately followed by a wonder goal from Rudi Austin. The place was bouncing then and we showed great character to defend because they really went for it."

The kick-off was delayed by half an hour after congestion on the M62 but the delay had no effect on Reading, whose pace and precision passing had Leeds repeatedly at full stretch and unable to bring Royals keeper Alex McCarthy into the action until he gathered Alex Mowatt's header just before the break.

By then Leeds had gifted Garath McCleary the opening goal in the 25th minute with a mix-up between keeper Jack Butland and defenders Jason Pearce and Marius Zaliukas.

But it was a disastrous seven-minute spell early in the second half that had Leeds fans demanding to know what was going on as Royston Drenthe, Nick Blackman and Hal Robson-Kanu helped themselves to goals.

Drenthe's left foot free-kick was sublime, substitute Blackman was allowed a free header and Robson-Kanu's goal had Leeds in total disarray.

Matt Smith left the bench to bring Leeds to life, latching on to Pearce's downward header to score at the foot of a post, before Austin rifled a spectacular goal from 30 yards to offer a crumb of comfort.