Judge: A Good Away Point
Sunday, 4th Oct 2020 16:46
Midfielder Alan Judge felt Saturday’s draw against the MK Dons was a good away point against a decent side who will win more games than they lose this season.
Jon Nolan put Town in front in the seventh minute but Daniel Harvie levelled for the home team in the 55th minute with Judge replacing Freddie Sears and Flynn Downes - who went off injured 13 minutes later with Town having used all their subs - taking over from Teddy Bishop as the Blues prepared to restart following the goal.
Town dropped from first to third as a result of the draw, while the Dons hit the bottom, but despite that will have been pleased with their afternoon's work.
Asked what he made of the game, Judge said: “I think it’s a good away point. I thought they were very good. But I thought we were very good off the ball, especially when we went down to 10 men, I thought we narrowed it up quite well and they didn’t really get through us.
“It was just one of those games, they were a very good team, they’ll cause a lot of problems his year, I think they’ll win more games than they’ll lose.”
He added: “Last year maybe would have lost that game. I know we’re only four games in, we’ve got three wins and a draw, we’ll just keep going from there.”
Town’s season started with three successive 2-0 wins in League One but Judge says the Blues knew they wouldn’t have it all their own way.
“There are a lot of good teams in the league this year, good players, so we’ve just got to keep ticking along, keep doing what we’re doing, keep getting used to the way we’re playing,” he continued.
“There are going to be bumps along the way, the way we’re playing now. It’s not always going to work, we’ve got to stick at it and maybe the next game will be better again.”
The 31-year-old says it’s difficult to assess how open the division will be this season: “I think with everything that’s going on at the minute, the virus, you don’t know.
"And a lot of teams that wanted the league finished last year have brought in a lot of players, funnily enough, so we’ll wait and see. The teams who said they had no money have been bringing in a lot of players.”
Does the Irishman believe the Blues are better placed to carry on the early season momentum this year than last season? “Yes, it’s important to keep it going, as many games as we can. Keep playing, keep going, get the points on the board as much as we can and the lads are confident at the moment.”
Judge was making his return after a hamstring injury having been in the starting XI at the beginning of the campaign.
“It was a bit of an annoying one in that 20 minutes against Fulham,” he reflected. “That just shows it can happen. I was feeling good, I’m feeling good anyway, I didn’t miss pre-season this year and it’s been massive for me.
“I’m feeling good, the lads have been playing well since I’ve been out so I’ve just got to bide my time and wait.”
He knew he wasn’t just going to waltz back into the starting line-up: “For obvious reasons - the boys are winning. I understand that, the older I get I definitely understand that more.
“But I felt like I was playing well, I was fit and I was doing well at right wing, the position I was playing at the time. I’ve actually enjoyed playing there because of the way we’re playing at the moment. I’ve just got to bide my time.”
Regarding the role he’s played this season, he added: “I think at the minute with the way we’re playing coming inside it suits me a bit more.
“We all know I obviously enjoy the middle of the pitch but the gaffer wants me to play there and it’s like at home when the missus says ‘Jump!’, you say ‘How high?’ and you go along with it. I’m happy just to do it for the team.”
Judge has been pleased with the addition of striker Oli Hawkins both on the field and off it.
“I think the big man’s been very good for us since he’s come in. He’s a great lad, he’s fun to be around, we call him Trigger already," he laughed.
“He’s a really good lad and we’ve got Kayden [Jackson] back as well, he’ll add that bit more pace. Nors [James Norwood] is a bit unlucky with the injury at the moment. It’s just competition for places.
“You look at our squad and it’s down to the players that are in the team to keep themselves in there. I got injured, I might be out on default at the minute but I’ve got to fight to get myself back in there.”
Judge says he’d very much like to be involved in Tuesday’s EFL Trophy tie against Gillingham: “I would love to get some minutes on Tuesday, personally.”
The Dubliner has been left out of new Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny’s first two squads and says the situation has been explained to him.
“I spoke to the manager and he said he was going with players who have been playing,” he said.
“That’s just the way it really goes, that’s fair enough but he picked one or two players that hadn’t played for five months themselves.
“But look, I understand it, the young players are coming through, fair enough, and I wish them all the best.”
However, he says he’s not shut the door on his international career having won nine caps and scored one goal.
“Of course not, I’d never do that but I’m a realist, I understand the game, time for the young players to come through, that’s great and, honestly, I love watching them but you never know what will happen and I’ll always be there.”
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