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‘I’ve enjoyed playing there... it suits me a bit more’ - Judge on his role in Town’s new system

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:58 08 October 2020

Alan Judge with a second half free kick in the EFL trophy game against Arsenal.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.com

Alan Judge with a second half free kick in the EFL trophy game against Arsenal. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

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Alan Judge believes Ipswich Town’s playing style this season suits his game but knows he may need to be patient as he bids to return to the starting line-up.

Alan Judge plays the ball forward at MK Dons. Picture Pagepix LtdAlan Judge plays the ball forward at MK Dons. Picture Pagepix Ltd

The Irishman, who has regularly stated his preference for playing in the middle of the pitch, started the season well on the right flank before a hamstring injury cost him his place in the side ahead of the visit to Bristol Rovers last month.

He returned at Milton Keynes on Saturday and is in contention to start at Blackpool this weekend, with the Irishman knowing he may face a fight to start from a team unbeaten in four League One games.

“It was a bit of an annoying one in that 20 minutes against Fulham,” Judge said of his injury.

“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.

Alan Judge in action at MK Dons. Picture Pagepix LtdAlan Judge in action at MK Dons. Picture Pagepix Ltd

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“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. That is 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.”

Judge played a lot of football in a wide left role last season, where he often found himself drifting inside to try and influence games, but believes Town’s new approach, which sees two wide men bid to get high up the pitch alongside a central striker, suits him more.

“I think at the minute with the way we’re playing coming inside it suits me a bit more,” he said.

“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 can already see the benefits striker Oli Hawkins has brought to the club, both on and off the pitch.

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Alan Judge in action against Rovers two weeks ago.Alan Judge in action against Rovers two weeks ago.

“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,” Judge said, with a smile.

“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.”

Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears started in the Town wide positions at MK Dons last weekend, while Jack Lankester has impressed when coming off the bench in League One games.

Arsenal U21s Ben Cottrell and Alan Judge in action.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comArsenal U21s Ben Cottrell and Alan Judge in action. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Youngster Armando Dobra did his cause no harm at all with an excellent goal against Gillingham on Tuesday, while Gladbach loanee Keanan Bennetts will soon be up to speed following his arrival last week.


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