When Zach Clough sat down to meet the press for the first time shortly after he’d signed his two-year deal he spoke about how much he felt ready to settle down and push on, with goals and assists top of his priority list.
And that feeling of being able to settle down was made much easier from the off as fans reacted with delight to the news of his arrival.
“It’s a lovely feeling when that happens and on the day I signed everything was so positive,” he said. “I felt the love on Tuesday night from the sidelines, people were shouting and having a good laugh.
“We were giving a little bit back because we enjoyed the game and I think it’s just good to welcome the fans back and I think both sides really enjoyed the occasion. It was nice to finally be able to play in front of the fans.
“It was a great atmosphere and a great night. The weather was perfect and it’s good to get off with a winning start. It builds the confidence and we can go again with that on Saturday.”
“I’ve said it before, but all I want to be doing is playing with a smile on my face,” he added. “I just want to come here, score loads of goals and hopefully the gaffer sees me as a striker, so I think I can add a lot of goals to my tally this season.
“I know I’m somewhere where I’m wanted and that’s perfect for me. That’s what I used to love when I was at Bolton. Whenever I’ve played my best football I’ve had a manager who has loved me and wanted to make me a part of it.
“This is a lovely place, a lovely green place to come and live, and the lads have really helped me to settle. They’re all class, they’re a good group and it’s a good bunch of young lads.
“I’m really happy with my decision to come here and the group have helped me with the settling in bit. I’m raring to go, I can’t wait for the season to start in just under a month or so.”
Tuesday at Penrith couldn’t have gone any better as he marked his first wearing of the shirt with a hat-trick … and it could even have been more.
“I thought I should have had another penalty as well, I wanted 4!” he admitted. “I was just about to square that pass for Gime but someone came in from behind me and took me out.
“I don’t know if the referee felt sorry for them with the fact we’d scored eight, but it was an enjoyable night and obviously good to score a few goals and get off to a good start.
“I know we were up against opposition that go to work, and they’re not a professional team, but they gave it a good go and they worked hard. They made it hard for us and that’s why it was a good run out.
“It added on to the work we’ve already done. I think the lads always hate the first two weeks because there’s no games and it’s double or triple sessions, but now the games will start to come thick and fast and we’re looking forward to it.
"We want to build our confidence up through the rest of pre-season. There’s a lot of excitement, we’ve got a great young captain [Callum Guy had just appeared in the background] and it’s a good squad.
“I think we can do good things this year and we’ll see how far we’ll go. We’re hoping to be right up there at the end of the season.”
Having mentioned the first two weeks of tough sessions, we pointed out that he was one of the few who are clearly enjoying the running aspects of the sessions.
“I like to be at the front, I don’t know why, I think it’s just a pride thing,” he revealed. “Throughout my whole career from when I was young I was always at the front of the running because of that.
“Like I say, the first two weeks are always hard and once the games come we really start to enjoy it. That’s when you really start to get to know each other on the pitch.
“Training helps with that, but it’s on the pitch where you build relationships and get to know how each other plays.
“The standard of training is really high and the manager won’t let anything drop. The intensity we play at in training is what we show on a Saturday and in games. I hope that’s what the fans see.”
One of his trio of goals at Frenchfield Park was from the spot – so does that mean he’s on penalty duties once the season kicks off?
“I’ve always been on penalties to be fair, so I’ll hope to be taking them here. We haven’t had that discussion, but I hope so.”
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