Judge: To Be Honest, It Was Quite Tough
Friday, 8th Jan 2021 11:50
Town midfielder Alan Judge has revealed how contracting Covid denied him valuable time with his sick mother in Ireland.
Judge, 32, tested positive last month, forcing him to self-isolate rather than fly to Dublin with his family to spend Christmas, which he would have been able to do after the League One fixtures against Northampton and AFC Wimbledon were postponed when several other players also fell victim to the virus.
He said: “To be honest, it was quite tough. I was confirmed as positive – I think it was the Friday just before Christmas – and I had things planned for my kids in the week leading up to it. I had to spend 10 days, virtually the whole Christmas period, indoors and it wasn’t nice, although the kids dealt with it very well.
“I was due to fly home to go and see my mum. She was diagnosed with cancer last March and unfortunately she’s terminal. But I couldn’t get home, which was the really disappointing thing to be honest.
“I can only talk from my own experience about the difficulty of the situation. The club have been very good to me when it comes to getting home to see my mother. Any time I’ve mentioned it they have said ‘Yes, go, get yourself home’.
“But since March it has only been two or three times, so that’s nearly a year in which I’ve hardly seen her. On a personal note, it has been very difficult for me, but I know it has been difficult for everyone and I know I’m lucky that I can take my kids out to the park. I feel for the people who are in the cities, living in apartments and can’t just do that. I honestly think I’m one of the lucky ones.
“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling alright and I think I’ve been one of the lucky ones. I had a few mild symptoms and I had two or three days when it knocked me out, but other than that I would say I’ve been pretty lucky.”
Judge has started 12 of Town’s 18 league games this season, with ever-present skipper Luke Chambers, Andre Dozzell (15), Stephen Ward (15) and goalkeeper Tomas Holy (13) the only players to have featured more regularly in manager Paul Lambert’s line-ups.
He added: “It has been a weird situation, not having the fans present at most of the games. Some of the games have felt like U23 fixtures because they’ve been a bit slow and the atmosphere that the supporters generate has been missed by the players.
“What they bring to the game gives us an extra lift and it’s a big part of it, so it has been different from that perspective. But I’m at a stage of my career where I just go out and play wherever I’ve been told to play. I’m happy to do a job, whether it’s right wing, left wing, up front or midfield. It doesn’t bother me because I just want to play.
“I would say teams are playing a lot differently now. I think a lot of them are trying to play more of a passing game and looking to play out from the back because it gives you more time.
“Others might want to get from back to front quite quickly but on the whole I believe teams are looking to get their philosophy out there a bit more. The fact that there are no fans means they can be a bit more patient.”
Town’s recent inactivity – they have seen four league fixtures postponed since beating Burton 2-1 at Portman Road on December 15 – comes to an end tomorrow with the visit of a second-bottom Swindon side in desperate need of points.
With assistant boss Stuart Taylor reporting earlier that a number of injured players are close to full fitness again, another positive for Town is that the teams competing alongside them for automatic promotion and play-off places have struggled to take full advantage.
It means Town go into tomorrow’s clash still very much in the mix, only outside the top six places on goal difference and with games in hand on four of the teams currently above them in the table.
Judge said: “We’re sitting seventh, we haven’t played in 25 days and other teams haven’t been able to pick up too many points. Added to that we’ve been missing about eight players who could potentially be playing every week, so there are a few positives and hopefully we can make it a good start to the year from Saturday.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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