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Rovers midfielder Judge seeking first team football
ALAN Judge hopes to learn whether his future lies at Blackburn Rovers or Brentford in the next few days – as he seeks regular football next season.
Judge spent the second half of the season on loan at Brentford after falling down the pecking order at Rovers, and Bees boss Mark Warburton has this week confirmed that he is making attempts to seal a permanent deal for the 25-year-old.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer said at the start of the month that he expected Judge back for pre-season training, but the duo are likely to hold talks imminently to discuss the Irishman’s future.
Judge said that he would have no qualms returning to Rovers if the chance of regular football was available, but admits he would be tempted by a switch to Brentford if he was only likely to be a fringe player at Ewood Park next term.
“I will probably find out in the next few days,” Judge said about his future.
“Brentford told me they were keen but I haven’t spoken to them since the end of the season so I don’t know what conversations have taken place since then.
“I was speaking to Gary Bowyer throughout the season but he was focusing on things at Blackburn at the end of the season and I was focusing on Brentford so I haven’t spoken to him since then.
“Hopefully I will speak to him in the next few days and find out what’s going to happen. It’s good to know where you will be.
“If he says there’s a chance for me to play regularly at Blackburn then great. But there are a lot of good players at Blackburn so I don’t know what will happen.
“At this stage of my career I’m 25 now and I need to be playing regularly.”
Judge netted seven goals in 22 starts for Brentford to help them to automatic promotion to the Championship – a feat he regards as one of the highlights of his career.
But he has stressed that he bears no ill feeling about losing his place at Rovers, having commenced the 2013/14 campaign in the starting line-up on his return to the club after two years away.
Judge actually lost his place in the team after being forced to miss the home victory over Bolton because of the arrival of his first child.
He remains grateful for the chance to fulfil his dream of representing Rovers in the league, after being restricted to only two cup appearances during his first spell at the club.
“I started off the season in the team and then I lost my place but these things happen, it’s the manager’s decision,” Judge said.
“Dunny came in and scored two goals, and it was hard for them to change it after that.
“I came back in against Blackpool and thought I did okay, but it’s just one of those things. You can sit there and complain, but there’s no point doing that.
“When the chance to go to Brentford came up it seemed like the best option, even though I had the option to go to Championship clubs.
“People might have seen it as a step down to move to League One, but it was a good opportunity and to win promotion was fantastic.
“It was quite easy to settle in there and it was at the same when I came back to Blackburn at the start of the season, I was made to feel very welcome.
“Although I didn’t play as regularly as I would have liked, if that is it at Blackburn – and I don’t know yet – then I still came back to the club and played 10 games for the first team.
“That was something I really wanted to do when I was younger.”
Judge was not one of the six players placed on the transfer list by Rovers at the weekend and Brentford would have to agree a fee if they are convince Bowyer to part with the midfielder, with wages also needing to be sorted out.
Judge, George Saville and Marcello Trotta all impressed on loan at Griffin Park.
Brentford boss Mark Warburton said: “There are three guys on loan – Alan, George and Marcello – that have been great for us.
“We are talking to their parent clubs to see if business can be done.
“If we can’t get anything done, we thank them for their contribution.”
Rovers have been linked with 21-year-old midfielder Oumar Diop, who has been playing for Marseille’s B team. Reports in France have suggested that Bolton, FC Zurich, Olympiakos and Beveren have expressed an interest.
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