Alan Judge believes repeating last week’s performance and getting some help from his former team-mates can combine to rescue Brentford’s Championship play-off hopes today.
Should Ipswich Town and Derby County slip up in the lunchtime concluding fixtures, another Irish-dominated side can profit by snatching the final play-off berth.
Former Ireland U21 winger Judge and his Brentford side face relegated Wigan Athletic aware that only a comprehensive victory can keep alive their prospects of usurping the two sides ahead of them in the table.
If they fail to fulfil their part of the equation, then eighth-placed Wolves could sweep in from the margins on goal difference.
All the permutations are enough to confuse Judge, yet he’s clear in his mind of the mission awaiting his Bees at Griffin Park.
“Our place will be rocking, so we can thrive on that by getting the win we need,” said the 26-year-old yesterday. There would be nothing worse than a scenario whereby Ipswich and Derby lose, we drop points and Wolves slip in. Beating Wigan is all that matters.
“Of course, I’ll want to know how the other teams are getting on during our match. I don’t think our crowd will need to hear one of our rivals scoring to cheer us on.
“However, if I’m over near the stand taking a corner for example, I won’t mind asking our fans what the scores are elsewhere. Supporters are right on top of us in our ground.”
He’ll be entitled to allow his mind momentarily wander to Ewood Park, where he spent two spells at Blackburn Rovers.
They have the task of derailing Mick McCarthy’s march into next week’s play-offs and Judge knows the opposition well enough to be confident of them providing assistance.
“Jordan Rhodes would love scoring against his former club, Ipswich, so I’d be optimistic about Blackburn winning,” explained Judge. “I’ve been talking to some of my mates there this week and they’re really up for the game.
“There’s also pressure on Derby against Reading. People might think the season is over Reading but I know plenty of players are fighting for new contracts off Steve Clarke. We had to be at our best to beat Reading last week.
“The same applies in our game. Wigan might be heading to League One but I’m sure they’ll include some youngsters with nothing to lose. At least, though, their main man James McClean is suspended.”
The Irish winger’s name prompts the topic of Judge’s own international ambitions.
Martin O’Neill has been a regular visitor to nearby Brentford since taking the Ireland manager’s post, recently revealing he is keeping the nippy winger in his thoughts for the double-header next month against England and Scotland. Judge assumes nothing, evidenced by him booking a family holiday for the time of the international fixtures.
Still, were O’Neill to offer the Championship performer an inlet to impress, even for the behind-closed-doors friendly against Northern Ireland on June 4, he’ll gladly shelve plans to hit the beach.
He said: “My girlfriend wouldn’t mind that because she knows how much a call-up would mean to me. Although Martin has been to see me a lot, most recently against Bolton two weeks ago, I think he’s settled on his squad for the campaign.
“I have to respect the fact I may have to wait longer for my chance with Ireland. But at least he’s bothered coming to see me play, unlike the previous manager.”
Helping unfancied Brentford reach the play-offs would only strengthen his case for inclusion.
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