How the Irish fared: Jury is out on Alan Judge’s future

Alan Judge’s future may be uncertain but there is little doubt the midfielder is the best Irish player outside the Premier League this season.
How the Irish fared: Jury is out on Alan Judge’s future

Judge highlighted his talents again on Saturday, grabbing his 12th goal of the season as Brentford claimed a 3-1 Championship win at Preston in a game where the Bees were aided by an own-goal from Greg Cunningham.

Judge’s form hasn’t gone unnoticed with Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley both having bids for the player rejected while Newcastle are also believed to be interested.

However, Brentford boss Dean Smith retains hope he can keep his star man.

“We want to keep him at the football club,” Smith said.

“The players love him, the staff like him and really enjoy what he’s about and he showed that with his performance.

“People can talk about the speculation off the pitch but he lets his talking be done on the football pitch.

“He’s doing really well and is a valuable asset to us.”

While Judge was busy enhancing his transfer value, Anthony Pilkington was having one of most eventful 90 minutes of his career as Cardiff City drew 2-2 at home to Rotherham.

Pilkington’s contribution included a brace for the Bluebirds, an own goal, and a booking after he was deemed to have dived in the Rotherham box as his side sought a winner.

It was a mixed bag of a display, but Cardiff boss Russell Slade opted to stress the positives after an unusual ‘hat-trick’.

“It was an excellent performance from Anthony Pilkington and I’m pleased with him,” Slade said.

Elsewhere, it was a miserable Saturday for Jonathan Douglas after he saw red in Ipswich’s 3-0 defeat at Birmingham City.

“The sending-off changed the course of the game,” Mick McCarthy said.

“I knew he was going to send Dougie off but I’m not sure how much contact was made.

“The referee said it was a two-footed challenge but it certainly wasn’t that. It could be looked at as harsh.”

It was a happier weekend for Chris Hughton as his Brighton side climbed to third following a 2-1 win over Huddersfield.

In League One, Paddy Madden scored twice as Scunthorpe beat Colchester 3-0, Aiden O’Brien netted i n Millwall’s 2-1 win at Chesterfield while Kevin Long was among the scorers as Barnsley hammered Rochdale 6-1.

Elsewhere, Gary Deegan’s dismissal didn’t stop Southend beating Coventry 3-0 while a goal from Damien McCrory couldn’t prevent Burton from losing 2-1 to Shrewsbury.

In League Two, goals from James Collins and John-Joe O’Toole helped Northampton to a 3-1 won over Morecambe while Conor Wilkinson netted in Newport’s 2-2 draw with Dagenham.

Anthony Stoke’s second coming at Hibs began in style as a goal on his debut in a 3-1 win over St Mirren helped close the gap to Rangers at the top of the Scottish Championship to two points.

After arriving as a 71st-minute sub, Stokes converted James Keatings’ cross to seal the win.

Elsewhere in Scotland, Sean Dillon was among the scorers as Dundee United hammered Kilmarnock 5-1.

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