ADAM Judge is relishing the opportunity to step out of John Danby’s shadow and into Chester FC’s goal at Chasetown on Saturday.
First-choice keeper Danby is facing at least six weeks on the sidelines after breaking a finger in four places during Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Stafford Rangers.
Danby’s misfortune paves the way for understudy Judge to come into the Blues’ line-up this weekend for only his third appearance of the season.
The 24-year-old said: “I’m gutted for John – it’s a bad injury and he said he knew straight away that it was broken. But this is what I’m here for and I hope I can come in and do well.
“When the chance comes along you’ve got to grab it and take it with both hands.”
Danby’s remarkable consistency has restricted Judge, a fitness instructor who lives in Runcorn, to just two starts this season, both in cup competitions. But Danby may now miss the rest of the season after being on the wrong end of a heavy tackle from Stafford’s Chris Morris late in Saturday’s game.
He completed the match but was taken straight to hospital at the final whistle and is due to have an operation on his injured finger today.
Judge, who played 17 times for the Blues last season after signing from Leigh Genesis, has bided his time this term, training twice a week with Danby and goalkeeping coach Lee Worrall.
“It’s hard when you’re a keeper because you know that only one lad can play,” said Judge. “I’ve just kept my head down and got on with training. I feel sharper than I did last season to be honest.”
The young keeper knows he is coming into the side at a crucial time, with Chester chasing a second successive league title.
“I want to play my part and help the club win the championship,” he said “There was no better feeling than last season when we won the league.”
Blues boss Neil Young will put his faith in Judge at Chasetown this weekend but could be tempted into the transfer market soon to bolster his goalkeeping options.
“Adam’s waited for his chance and he’ll be given his opportunity at Chasetown,” said Young. “He works hard and trains hard. But I wouldn’t rule out signing a new keeper. It’s a crucial part of the season and we can’t leave ourselves open.”
Young said Danby would be out for a ‘minimum’ of six weeks.
The Blues boss added: “It’s a massive loss to us. I think John has been very much under-rated this season. He’s been superb.”