(Corrects paragraph 10 to make clear Millwall are unbeaten in 14 league games (and not 11))
By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England, April 2 (Reuters) - Playoff chasing Derby County bounced back from their shock home defeat by Sunderland with a crucial 1-0 win at Preston North End in the Championship on Monday.
Given Derby’s recent record of late season collapses, the 4-1 loss to lowly Sunderland on Friday could easily have shattered the confidence of Gary Rowett’s side but they responded strongly.
They were given a let-off, however, when Alan Browne missed a first-half penalty for 10th-placed Preston and went on to grab the win through Tom Lawrence’s 52nd minute free kick.
The victory ended an eight-match winless run for fifth-placed Derby.
“I’m pleased, it feels like relief. It didn’t matter how we won the game, we need to play better than that but, to be honest, I’m not bothered today,” Rowett said.
“I don’t think it was about the points today or where we are in the league, but more about the psychological angle because the longer the winless run went on, the more pressure there would be on the players,” he added.
Sixth-placed Middlesbrough needed a last-minute header from Britt Assombalonga to take a point in a 1-1 draw from their trip to bottom club Burton Albion who took a sixth-minute lead through Marvin Sordell.
Bristol City, a point outside the playoff spots in seventh, failed to take advantage as they lost 1-0 at home to Brentford with Neal Maupay striking 10 minutes from time.
Millwall, who are level on points with City, drew 2-2 at Ipswich Town with George Saville getting their 60th-minute equaliser at Portman Road.
Neil Harris’s Millwall are now unbeaten in 14 league games.
At the other end of the table, Sunderland came back down to earth with a 3-1 home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.
Second-placed Cardiff City play at Sheffield United later on Monday and leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers host Hull City on Tuesday.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond