Time not right for ‘frustrated’ Judge to return – Smith

Brentford boss Dean Smith says Alan Judge is not quite ready to be thrown into a live Championship match following his lengthy injury lay-off.

Judge has not played for the first team since being stretchered off with a double leg break against Ipswich in April 2016.

The Irishman was an unused substitute against Aston Villa on Boxing Day and again in the win over Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, but both matches were too close to throw in a player short of fitness.

Smith said: “I know he’s frustrated that he’s not getting on to the pitch but, the way the game was, I didn’t think it was right for him.

“With the squad that we’ve got, and the bench that we’ve got, at the moment it’s very difficult because he hasn’t played a load of minutes.

“It’s something like 500 days that he’s been out. He played half a game against Barnet for the B team and then 70 minutes against Wolves, so gradually he’ll get back.

“[The FA Cup third-round tie with Notts County] Next Saturday might be a chance for him to come in.

“But we’ve got a few players coming back, the likes of Henrik [Dalsgaard] and Lewis [Macleod], and they’ll need minutes.”

Smith was delighted with the display against Wednesday, labelling it “as complete a performance” as they have had all season.

He added: “Saying that, I thought we started a bit slowly but we got the goal and it turned into a different game.

“We’ve had a number of chances to kill the game off but our general control and game management was excellent.”