Bolton Coach: Zach Clough Needs 'Someone Like Myself'

  • May 07, 2020 | By Chris Mann
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David Lee says Zach Clough will bounce back from his Nottingham Forest nightmare and believes he is the man capable of taking on such a challenge.

Lee, who has held various roles within Bolton's academy and under-23 set-ups since 2008, played a key role in Clough's development at under-18 level and transition into senior football back in January 2015.

After a return of 22 goals in 68 appearances during his initial spell with Wanderers, Clough joined Forest in a reported £3million deal in January 2017 but has struggled during his time at the City Ground - scoring just four times in 31 games and last featuring way back in January 2018.

Indifferent loan spells at Rochdale and back at Bolton since then have left the 25-year-old frozen out at his parent club but Lee insists all is not lost.

"He was fantastic at Bolton but when he went to Nottingham Forest, the manager that brought him in left," Lee told Burnden Aces podcast Walking Down the Manny Road.

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"So then Zach had to try and prove himself to another manager and if that manager hasn't brought Clough in, then he may not be his type of player.

"It doesn't make Zach a bad player by going to Nottingham Forest. Sometimes a manager doesn't quite fancy him or he doesn't fit into the system and if you're not careful you can fall away out of football.

"Unfortunately, Zach, at the moment, hasn't been playing any football. So you lose your confidence, your passion, desire and enthusiasm.

"It then needs somebody to get hold of that player and nurture him, put an arm round him, coach him, make him a better player and bring him back to how he was.

"While he's been at Nottingham Forest, the value of the player will have gone down because he's not played football. It's a frustrating time for him but you never know - he might play a couple of under-23 games and somebody might take him.

"Football is funny. You can be fantastic at one club, go somewhere else and it doesn't work out for you."

Lee, who has been placed on furlough by bosses at the University of Bolton Stadium, admits resurrecting Clough's career is a job he would be willing to take on, believing a simple arm round the shoulder and positive mindset could be the springboard needed to get the forward firing again.

"This is where I find one of my skills - it's about man management," Lee added.

"It's about getting on with those individual players and making them believe.

"Working them hard, telling them when they're doing well, telling them when they're not doing well and getting the respect of that player to get the best out of them.

"I believe when Zach was here with the under-18s - and I worked a lot with him - I got the best out of him.

"He's always going to be a good player but as a manager you've got to see those strengths and weaknesses in players and put confidence in the ability that's there to turn it into fruition.

"Unfortunately for Zach, he's gone somewhere and probably needed someone like myself who has worked with him and knows how he ticks to get him working again.

"He needed someone who will believe in him and put him on the football pitch at Nottingham Forest and he could have been a revelation and a hit.

"It's about that individual man management of players, looking after them and extracting every ounce of energy, enthusiasm and passion.

"The technical and tactical side will come as well but it's about those individuals and knowing how to get the best out of them. If you can do that with a group of players, you've got a fantastic chance.

"Zach needs to be back with someone like me who believes in him, who could give him that opportunity and pedestal to get him back playing again.

"Throughout my career as a coach and manager - I don't profess to be the best coach in the world - but I'm good at individuality and recognising what that player needs to get the best out of them.

"That's what Zach needs - he needs an arm round him, someone to believe in him and get him back playing football."

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
13 Accrington Stanley 27 36
14 Charlton Athletic 27 33
15 Bolton Wanderers 26 32
16 Lincoln City 26 31
17 Cheltenham Town 27 31
View Full Standings >>


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