HUDDERSFIELD TOWN’S Juninho Bacuna admits to having always enjoyed a friendly rivalry with elder brother Leandro, currently embroiled in a relegation scrap with Cardiff City.
Both are midfielders who can slot in at right-back, a position where Juninho excelled recently for the Terriers, and both came through at home-town club Groningen.
Juninho, 21, admits to being elated when he made it into the Dutch club’s first team a year earlier than his elder sibling had managed.
He is also, however, on the verge of beating Leandro to relegation from the Premier League.
Bacuna senior, now 27, went down with Aston Villa three years ago and Juninho could experience that same sinking feeling today if Huddersfield lose at Crystal Palace and other results go against Yorkshire’s sole top-flight representative.
“We have spoken about it,” said the Town man, signed last summer for £2m.
My brother is my inspiration. My idol. I look up to him. We started the same, at our former club in Groningen.Juninho Bacuna
“He said to just play my football and try to help the team. To show the best I can.
“He said relegation is not nice. Not good for you as a player to be relegated. So, do my best and, hopefully, stay in the Premier League.”
Leandro Bacuna could, of course, join his younger brother in the Championship next summer after joining Cardiff City in January for around £3m from Reading.
Neil Warnock’s men are third-bottom with seven games remaining but whatever happens there is no doubt that the two brothers’ relationship will not be affected.
“My brother is my inspiration,” said Huddersfield’s Bacuna. “My idol. I look up to him. We started the same, at our former club in Groningen.
“He was 18 in the first team and I wanted to make my debut before him. I did it! I was 17 at the time.
“It is like a life’s competition between us. But I do look up to him and I can learn a lot from him.”
Bacuna’s form in recent weeks has been a rare positive for the Terriers amid the gloom that inevitably accompanies a run of 16 defeats in 18 league outings.
Be it at right-back or central midfield – where he scored a first goal for Town in the 4-3 defeat at West Ham United a fortnight ago – he has excelled.
“I feel now to be playing with no fear,” he added. “At first, I found it much faster and much more physical (than in Holland). But I worked hard and I have enjoyed it. It was a dream of mine to play in the Premier League.”