Zach Clough left Nottingham Forest for Rochdale on loan in January but has played just 74 minutes of football for the League One outfit this year.
Clough’s return to Rochdale looked like an ideal opportunity for him to get his career back on-track.
The 24-year-old clearly made a good impression in the first half of the season at Spotland. But he hasn’t been able to build on that, and he has struggled to even get in the side in the last few months.
Clough was never likely to feature for the Reds this season. He had tumbled well down the pecking order at the City Ground. Neither Aitor Karanka or Martin O’Neill were interested in utilising him.
Rochdale, meanwhile, signed a promising midfielder who previously scored four goals in his first eight appearances for the Reds in the second half of the 2016/17 campaign. This came after the club paid around £2.5 million for his services a couple of weeks prior, as reported by the BBC.
But a move that looked perfect for the midfielder on paper has been anything but in reality.
It hasn’t been the best season for Rochdale, shown by the fact that Keith Hill recently lost his job as manager of the club. Brian Barry-Murphy has since taken over at the helm, but Clough has only made one appearance under him so far.
In fact, the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder has only made one start in 2019 for Rochdale, in a 1-0 defeat to Coventry City at Spotland at the beginning of February. He has missed a number of games through injury, which certainly hasn’t helped his cause.
Having spent £2.5 million on the midfielder, the Reds have a big decision to make in the summer. Do they give him one final chance to impress in pre-season or look to cut their losses?
Whatever happens in the summer, it’s been a sorry demise for a player who showed so much potential in the early stages of his career.