'He'll get better and better' – Lambert on Alan Judge future and a change of system
PUBLISHED: 12:47 13 February 2019
Paul Lambert is hopeful that Ipswich Town will extend the contract of Alan Judge after the midfielder’s ‘brilliant’ display in Sunday’s East Anglian derby defeat at Norwich City.
The 30-year-old Irishman was signed for a nominal fee from Championship rivals Brentford last month, his short-term contract until the end of the season containing an option for an extra 12 months.
Judge – who was set for a Premier League move before a multiple leg break injury at Portman Road in April 2016 – said in a recent interview that he was keen to earn an extended deal with the Blues.
He started his first three games for the club on the wing, but produced his best display so far in his favoured No.10 role at Carrow Road.
“I thought he was brilliant,” said Lambert. “When he plays like that nobody can get near him.
“As the game went on he got stronger and better. They found it hard to cope with him.
“By his own admission he should have scored.
“I’m delighted he’s here. He’ll get better and better as the weeks come.”
Asked if he wants to tie the midfielder down to an extended deal sooner rather than later, the Blues boss said: “Absolutely. And I think Judgey wants to be here. I think he enjoys it. Hopefully that gets sorted.”
Lambert has used 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 systems during his time in charge of the Blues, but switched to more of a 4-3-1-2 formation at the weekend as Judge was given the freedom to roam in behind a front two of Will Keane and Freddie Sears.
Town skipper Luke Chambers revealed afterwards that the game plan had been to go more direct.
Ellis Harrison or the fit-again Collin Quaner are likely to replace the injured Freddie Sears for tonight’s Championship clash with Derby County at Portman Road.
“I just changed the system and got him (Judge) central in the game,” said Lambert. “He can be more involved there.
“There’s 15 games to go and we have to go for it and try and win games. We have to try everything we can to force the issue.”