Darren Bent: Derby County striker says unbeaten run vital ahead of play-offs

Darren Bent celebrates a Derby County goal
Darren Bent's first league goal since September ensured Derby avoided their first defeat in five games, having won the previous four

Striker Darren Bent was relieved to score with his first touch in six weeks to keep Derby County's unbeaten run intact ahead of the play-offs.

Bent rescued a point for the Rams against Sheffield Wednesday, heading in the equaliser a minute after coming off the bench on Saturday.

Derby, already assured of a play-off spot, are unbeaten in five games.

"The main thing is that we go into the play-offs full of confidence and not losing games," Bent said.

Former England striker Bent said falling at the first hurdle of the play-offs against West Ham in his last season with Ipswich Town in 2004-05 was a harsh early lesson in his career.

"A fair few years ago now at Ipswich, our season had gone because we only managed to win one out of our last five games. We went into the play-offs with no real confidence," Bent told BBC Radio Derby.

As for his own personal form, Bent was pleased to make an impact as a substitute having not featured since Derby's 3-3 draw with Rotherham in March.

The goal was the former Aston Villa, Sunderland and Charlton forward's first since netting the winner in Derby's 2-1 FA Cup third-round win against League Two side Hartlepool in January and only his second in the Championship this season.

Bent scored 12 goals in 17 games during a loan spell at the iPro Stadium from Villa last season, before signing a full-time deal last summer.

"The boys have been joking it was my first touch in three months, it was nice," Bent said.

"It was a while for that one to come. It's been difficult to get minutes on the pitch with the team playing really well, Chris Martin at the top of his game and the two wide men playing well.

"To be match sharp is impossible if you play a few minutes every four or five weeks, but when you do get on the pitch you want to help the team out, and it worked."

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