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Judge: I'm a Goal Away From Getting Back to My Best
Wednesday, 20th Mar 2019 15:32

Blues midfielder Alan Judge believes he’s only a goal away from where he was prior to the serious injury which saw him miss almost two years of senior football.

Judge, then a Brentford player, suffered a double leg break in April 2016 in a challenge with Luke Hyam at Portman Road when he was on the verge of a Premier League move and didn’t return to first-team football until January 2018.

The 30-year-old joined the Blues from the Bees for a nominal fee in January having been unable to nail down a regular spot in the team at Griffin Park.

His form for Town has seen the Dubliner called into Mick McCarthy’s squad where he will hope to add to his five caps and one goal when they face Gibraltar away on Saturday and then host Georgia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin three days later.

“I went out and played football and I’m really enjoying it at the minute, playing every minute of every game. I feel I’m not far off to where I was before,” PunditArena quotes Judge as saying at a Republic of Ireland press conference this morning.

“I had a hard two and a half years, I got back fit and I was sitting on the bench, it’s just the way it goes. The chance came up to go to Ipswich and play every week, and there’s no way I was going to turn it down.

“It’s great to be back playing football, I’m enjoying every minute of it. As I said, the last two or three years for me haven’t been the easiest. I’m enjoying my football now.

“I know we’re bottom of the league at Ipswich but I’m enjoying every minute at the moment and I think that’s the reason why I’ve gotten myself back in here and I’m starting to show what I’ve done before and I’m just a goal away from where I was before.”

He says the lengthy spell out has given him greater inner strength: “Without a doubt, I’m mentally stronger. I know Seamus [Coleman] has gone through the same thing, I had two years of it.

“The one thing I will say is that I had plenty of time with my family, I think they’re sick of seeing me at the minute.

“You go through tackles, you go through everything and you always think ‘am I going to get back to it?’ and it took me six or seven matches at Ipswich to realise I could get back to this. You do have mental challenges but I’m loving it at the moment.”

McCarthy, who came close to signing Judge twice at Town, recently compared Judge to Wes Hoolahan, a regular in the Irish side under former boss Martin O’Neill.

“I met him at Ipswich, but [Blackburn] paid him more money [in the summer of 2013],” McCarthy recalled. “He’s the nearest to Hoolahan that can play in the middle of the pitch — finds passes and he’s got a goal in him.

“Is he back to the form he was at [before the injury]? Not quite, because it looked like he was going to be a Premier League player. He was a long time out — he broke his leg at Ipswich and he’s back there now playing his best football. I know he’s enjoying it, I’ve seen him twice and he’s been excellent.”

Judge can see why McCarthy might make the comparison with the former Norwich man, from a couple of angles.

“We’re both small,” he laughed. “Nah but we’re similar players, it’s good to be compared to Wes. People might say we’re a little different in certain things but if I can do what Wes did when he played for Ireland I’d be delighted. I’m at a similar age to him where he started coming in and playing more games.”

Judge reiterated that he sees himself playing a role along the lines of Hoolahan’s but ultimately is pleased just to be back out on the field, wherever he might be picked.

“I do prefer playing as a number 10 but if I do get chosen out wide or anything like that I don’t mind as long as I play minutes I’ll be happy,” he said.

“If the manager wants me to do something then I’ll do it to the best of my ability, but yeah everyone looks at the squad and thinks they have a chance to play if that comes my way hopefully I’ll take it.”

Town are talking to Judge about staying at Portman Road beyond the end of his contract at the end of the season with the deal he signed in January having an option that the player has said is “more in the club’s favour”.

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beornioblue added 15:39 - Mar 20
please dont go...dont goooooooo dont go away !!!

ITFCsince73 added 16:04 - Mar 20
I hope he doesn't score or regain former levels until he signs longer term with us.....although regardless, I'd be shocked if he stayed with us. Hes a quality player, and big team in the Championship bound or maybe abroad. Can get a gaurantee to be a starter, and command top wage. Which is a shame for us.

Trac70 added 16:24 - Mar 20
I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Luke Chambers today and I said that we must keep hold of Judge. Chambo replied "I'm on his case and will remain so to convince him to stay". Let's hope so.

therein61 added 16:48 - Mar 20
If it's in the clubs favour then get him in P.D.Q but then of course he could have an offer that he can't turn down and would we want an unhappy player like Waghorn or Garner

Radlett_blue added 17:30 - Mar 20
He continues to put himself in the shop window. Fair enough; he came here largely for the prospect of playing regularly & then getting the chance for a last decent contract. Sadly, this probably won't be at Town.

TimmyH added 17:32 - Mar 20
Sounds like a statement to me...a statement that says if I'm going to be a third tier player I want X amount of money!

Lathers added 18:13 - Mar 20
Make him our highest paid player with a clause that he can leave if we don't go back up at the first time of asking, and build the team around him. We have the prospect of a very exciting squad and style of football next season and Judge is probably the most important cog in next seasons wheel.

ArnieM added 18:25 - Mar 20
I think Judgy is going to stay . Come in Town we owe a good contract !

RaymondovicBlue added 18:37 - Mar 20
we have an option for a year so he is staying .... but yes I agree that we need him happy if he is going to be firing on all cylinders. someone said above about a clause that says he can go if we don't bounce ... a good idea. hope he would want to give us a year to reward the chance we took on him ...

Linkboy13 added 19:49 - Mar 20
I think we can dream all we like but he's 30yrs old now and probably he's last chance of a good move to a championship club i wouldn't blame him if he left he's been a good player and professional good luck to him and his family.

MichaelRockyLavelle added 21:40 - Mar 20
Not relevant to discussion of Judge but trying to get attention of the scouts!

GET IN TOM EAVES !!! What do our scouts do?!
He's 6ft5, great in the air, 27yo and has an eye for goal
having scored 17 last season, and 14 so far this season (for the Gills)
and seems fairly agile for his size
Why we didn't get him in January is beyond me, he's said he wants to leave Gillingham for the Championship & hence didn't re-sign for them

Check out his goals from last season

dirtydingusmagee added 22:08 - Mar 20
sign on the dotted line please !

Warkys_Tash added 23:24 - Mar 20
Evans owes us fans and I want Judge as a relegation present.

If Town want the crowds next season then there has to be some exciting players to go and watch, Judgey is that player. Pull out all the stops to Sign him up for 3 years please!!

PortmanTerrorist added 08:43 - Mar 21
If contract is in the Club's favour then hopefully it is just about making him feel like he is financially not compromised.

If Evans has any sense, and i get the impression PL has kicked some into him, then he will do this and announce it exactly as Season Tickets go on sale !

I will be there come what may as have a debenture, but would still want to see ticket prices dropped so we can maintain the atmosphere being generated in recent weeks which has been fabulous in the SBR Stand. Keep that and some early season results and the Club will be bouncing, hopefully bouncing back up, and pushing on quickly as our youth mature. COYB, come on Evans, come on Judgy !

braveblue added 12:29 - Mar 21
Come on Evans. Don’t miss out yet again.

midastouch added 15:15 - Mar 21
I sincerely hope he's not one good goal away from being signed by Derby! I'm fed up with being a feeder club to the Rams. It's time we rammed them into touch and kept our best talents. Paul Lambert is going need them to help get us out of the mess we're in! He's got a hard enough job as it is so the least we should do is try and keep hold of our best current talents (and that includes Judge) so PL has got the best tools available to give us the maximum chance of getting out of League One (sooner rather than later!)

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