CRAIG Bryson is hoping that performances like the one which earned him a place in the Championship team of the week can help him force his way back into the Scotland setup, writes DAVID BROOME.
While many of his Derby County colleagues will be on international duty this week, Bryson has missed out on Gordan Strachan’s first squad, despite the midfielder being named among the best 11 players in the league this week along with team-mate Richard Keogh.
The duo put in goalscoring performances in the Rams’ 3-0 win at home to Huddersfield Town on Saturday, and while Keogh could make his Republic of Ireland debut tonight, Bryson has not appeared for the Tartan Army since November 2010.
The 26-year-old said: “I just expect not to get called up now.
“I’ll just get on with playing well for Derby and see what happens in the future.
“I thought I played well last season and I never got anywhere near the squad.
“I won’t get my hopes up.
“You’re always hopeful, but he (Strachan) has obviously picked the team he thinks can win the game and I’m not involved.
“If they get a few call-offs, we’ll see what happens.”
Despite being once again thwarted in his attempt to add to the 22 minutes he has played for his country, Bryson was not bitter, and praised his team-mates who have been called up.
He said: “It’s excellent for the club, the players and the manager, as it shows we’re doing things right here if our players can get called up to their national teams.”
The former Kilmarnock player is also hoping that Derby can build on their 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town on Saturday and pick up a rare away win against Sheffield Wednesday this weekend.
“It was nice for us to bounce back straight away, win 3-0 and keep a clean sheet after being beaten 3-0.
“Sheffield Wednesday are on a really good run at the moment, so it’ll be a tough game.
“We’ll go there like we go to every game, to try and win, but it’s going to be tough.
“I don’t think any game in this league is easy, and it only gets harder - if it can - when you go away.
“We’re only six points off the top six, and if we can keep our home form the way it is and pick up a point or two away from home then you never know what can happen at the end of the season.”
Bryson scored the opening goal against the Terriers, and is happy in his new role on the left of midfield.
He said: “It’s probably my best performance since I came back from injury - and playing out left as well.
“I’ve tried to play there a wee bit in training to get used to it, because it’s not natural to me, compared to playing in the centre.
“It’s a bit different, you’re not involved in the game as much, and you have to keep your position a bit better.
“The gaffer wants me to play there now, because he’s happy with Will (Hughes) and Jeff (Hendrick) in the middle, but I’m happy to play there and hopefully I can get better.”
On the goal, he said: “It was a really good cross, and the gaffer is always telling me to get in the box and try and get on the end of those when I’m playing out wide.
“I thought we worked hard right from the first whistle, were right on top of them and didn’t give them a chance to settle.
“We passed the ball about well on quite a tricky surface and gave it a go at the right time.”
MEANWHILE, supporters will have the chance to cheer on Derby County from behind both goals next season after the club decided to offer season tickets for the South Stand of Pride Park, writes DAVID BROOME.
For £230, fans can buy a seat usually reserved for away fans.
Chief executive Sam Rush said: “One of my main aims when I took up my post was to look at ways we could improve the atmosphere at Pride Park.
“And situating fans behind both goals, I feel, is a step towards doing that.
“We’re delighted that as of next season, we’ll have fans behind both goals and hopefully that will help in creating a ‘fear factor’ when teams come to Pride Park.”
In addition, there has been a price freeze for the majority of fans if they renew their season tickets before April 14, as well as cheaper tickets for younger fans, a recategorisation of some of the more popular seating, and changes to the senior and disabled season tickets.
For further information on 2013-14 season tickets, visit WeAreDerby.com.