Nottingham Forest boss Chris Hughton has thrown the door open to the club’s fringe players and that could throw a lifeline to Zach Clough.
Yohan Benalouane and Nuno Da Costa departed the City Ground on deadline day but Clough, Michael Hefele and Gaetan Bong remain on Trentside.
Hughton said during his press conference yesterday that everyone would earn a clean slate and get the chance to impress on the training pitch.
Hefele and Bong could see themselves unlucky, given that Forest have Nicholas Ioannou and Yuri Ribeiro at left-back and a plethora of central defenders to choose from.
Clough could get fortunate though on the basis that the Reds are short of attacking option, particularly in the No.10 role.
Joao Carvalho has joined Almeria on loan, whilst Tiago Silva has gone to Olympiacos on a permanent deal.
That leaves Luke Freeman as the only natural option to play in the hole behind a lone striker and if Hughton does prefer 4-2-3-1, that could be a problem if injury strikes.
Clough signed for the Reds in 2017 costing the club £2.5 million from Bolton Wanderers. He made a decent start to life at Forest scoring four goals and registering two assists during the second half of the 2016/17 campaign.
Since then he has struggled to impress a number of managers, with Aitor Karanka, Martin O’Neill and Sabri Lamouchi all casting him aside.
It has to be said that after so long without playing first-team football, his chances of forcing his way into Hughton’s squad look slim.
The Forest group is a sizeable one and the new incumbent is likely to choose players who are sharp and have match practice under their belt.
Offers to take him on loan haven’t been forthcoming though and if he does knuckle down and start to show his worth in training, there could be a pathway back to the first-team picture.
Clough may quickly be banished away from the first-team picture and if an offer was to come in tomorrow, it’s fair to say the club would entertain it.
For now, he is a Forest player and with a lack of attacking options, Hughton might choose to hand a reprieve to the 25-year-old.