Carlisle United are delighted to confirm that an agreement has been reached with attacking midfielder Zach Clough (effective from 1 July) which keeps him at Brunton Park until the summer of 2023.
Clough, 26, was born in Denton, Greater Manchester, and came through the youth system with Bolton Wanderers.
Having joined the club as an eight-year-old he made his debut at the age of 19, and he went on to bag 29 goals in 68 appearances during his first spell with his boyhood club.
Inevitably the scouts came calling, and that prompted Bolton to offer a new two-year deal in 2017. That didn’t prevent Nottingham Forest from upping the ante and he made the switch to the City Ground on a four-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee [reported to be in excess of £3m] during the January 2017 transfer window.
He had loan spells with Bolton and Rochdale whilst with Forest, and he joined Wigan Athletic on a short-term deal at the end of the January 2021 transfer window.
Manager Chris Beech said: “I’m really pleased with this one. We’ve worked very hard behind the scenes over the last few days speaking to Zach about what we want to achieve as a football club and what we want for him to achieve as a player.
“I’ve worked with him before, so I’m well aware of his capabilities, and he knows mine. There’s no doubt that on his day he’s a player that makes you sit up and take notice.
“He’s put his trust in me as much as I have in him.”
“For Zach it’s about enjoying his football, playing with a smile, giving him back the enthusiasm he had a few years ago, and giving him the ‘freedom within framework’ that I encourage within our group,” he continued.
“He’s at a great age now and comes to us with a tremendous pedigree. He has the ability to score different types of goals, but he can also drop in and get the ball and make things happen between the lines. Above all else he’s coming to Carlisle for the right reasons.
“I’m excited for our supporters with this signing. I think all fans want a player they can buy into, look forward to coming to see play and, if they get behind Zach, I can guarantee that he will respond to that and deliver for them on the pitch. He’s that kind of player.”
“The hard work starts now,” he told us. “He’s in good shape, having done a pre pre-season himself, but he knows there’s work to do on the pitch to get him back to his best.
“There are no guarantees in football, he needs to rekindle that spark and flare he had when Nottingham Forest came in and paid millions for him. He needs to find his rhythm and consistency on the pitch, and he needs to do the preventive work with Greg [Short] and Ross [Goodwin] off it to keep himself in top condition so that he can help us drive up that table.
“I think Carlisle and Cumbria is a case of right place, right time for Zach. Let’s get behind him from the get-go and show him what we’re all about.”
This deal remains subject to the clearance of all paperwork.