I am not a lawyer, just someone who was in a similar boat in California.
You are to be applauded for making it this far.
They have flinched and are scrambling to try to arrange a witness or hoping beyond all hope that you will not show up for the trial. Odds are strong that they will not be able to produce a witness and may wait until day of trial to admit defeat. If they show up with a witness, it will be an employee of their own making as outlined in their documents.
If you are as prepared as I think you are, then you will be fine.
As to the judge, if a trial happens make sure your objections are "on the record". And any shafting by said judge will be overturned in appeals. But odds are slim that it will come to that.
Hold the course.
Don't worry about shenanigans that have not happened yet.
All you can do is watch the docket and react quickly when something happens.
I am certain the people here who have gotten you this far will help you when you have something beefy for them to devour.
If you are really anxious, then do what I did and attend a couple of other cases with your assigned judge presiding. Just look for trials and not just hearings. In my case, I showed up for two trials. One lady who made it all the way to the end and presented a good defense with respect to the filings, simply did not show up. She would have won, because the rent a lawyer had no witnesses that day.
The other case, an elderly gentleman (I felt truly sorry for him) told a sad tale of woe and then proceeded to let the rent a lawyer submit evidence after evidence, all without objection. He was stone cold silent. I wanted to yell out to him for what to say, and I could see the judge react sympathetically, but there was nothing he could do. He had to follow the law. The man went down in flames and had to pay interest and other such junk charges. Such a shame.
You are more on the ball than these two.
I think you will be fine.