GARY Bowyer wishes that Alan Judge, the newly crowned Championship player of the month, was still a Blackburn Rovers player.

But Bowyer admits he could not stand in the way of the Brentford star leaving Rovers for a second time.


Judge, who is battling be fit for tomorrow’s Ewood Park showdown against his former club, signed for the Bees in June last year after helping them win promotion from League One.

Since then he has forged a reputation as one of the best attacking midfielders outside of the Premier League with his three goals and four assists in October leading him to win the league’s monthly prize.

Rovers boss Bowyer, who brought Judge back to the club in July 2013, said: “In an ideal world I wish he was still here.

“But at the time he was in the squad and on the bench, and Judger being Judger, he wasn’t happy with that.

“He wanted to be guaranteed first-team football and he dropped down into League One to get it.

“It wasn’t something that we wanted but he was so keen to play football. We got good money for him, at the time, and I’m delighted he’s performed and gone on to the levels that he has, because that’s why initially we brought him back here.

“Hopefully we can keep him quiet on Saturday.”

Judge, who has just become a father again, initially joined Brentford on loan in January 2014 after seeing his path to the Rovers first team blocked by Ben Marshall and Tom Cairney.

And, with the Judge’s prospects hindered further by the superb form of £100,000 signing Craig Conway, Judge was allowed make a £350,000 permanent move to the Bees.

Bowyer said: “Hindsight is a wonderful thing. We never knew that Tom Cairney would be sold in the summer. But that’s football. Everybody has moved on now.

“Judger is a top man, and I understand he’s become a dad again, so that’ll keep him awake!”

Lancashire Telegraph:

At the moment it is a niggling hamstring injury that is giving Judge sleeping nights.

His Brentford boss, and former Rovers midfielder Lee Carsley, will not risk the 26-year-old tomorrow if he is not 100 per cent fit.

Carsley said: “He’s someone we’ll leave as late as possible. We’ve got to do him justice and not put him in a position where he’s out for six or seven weeks.”

Carsley has made it a club double by being named the Championship’s manager of the month.

And Bowyer said: “Lee has gone in there and turned it around and we’re going to have to be right at it on Saturday.

“We need to be organised and as disciplined as we have been, and just be a little bit more ruthless in the final third, and a bit more creative than we what we were on Tuesday night.”

The 0-0 draw at Birmingham City was Rovers’ sixth clean sheet in their last 11 matches.

But they have failed to score in four of their previous five games and Bowyer said: “It’s not through the lack of chances. If we weren’t creating chances it’d be a concern. But the opportunities have been there, it’s just about being more ruthless.”