Former Nottingham Forest performer Zach Clough enjoyed a debut to remember for Carlisle United last night. The Cumbrians defeated local non-league side Penrith 8-0 as they kicked off in style.

The attacking midfielder departed Forest back in January. He joined Wigan Athletic on a short-term deal, scoring once and claiming one assist in 13 appearances.

Clough wasn’t kept on though and he was released from the DW Stadium during the summer. Carlisle have now given him a chance to revive his career once again.

Clough in action for Forest; Photo; Ashley Allen; Getty Images

The versatile forward never really hit it off at Forest. After scoring four goals following his arrival in January 2017, he then failed to convince several new managers.

He managed just 31 appearances for the Reds in four years at the club. The highlight was definitely his early goal during a 2-2 draw with Derby in Mark Warburton’s first game in charge.

Last night he experienced a debut to remember. He only played the second half, with Carlisle choosing to play two different teams against the minnows.

He registered a hat-trick, claimed two assists and was also denied a stonewall penalty during a breathtaking 45-minute appearance.

Clough will have taken a great deal of confidence from the performance. It’s a trait that has been lacking in recent years and he’ll hope to kick on during 2021/22.

Forest fans might monitor Clough with intrigue

When the Reds managed to sign Clough from Bolton in 2017 it was deemed a massive coup. He was backed to really enjoy his best years at Forest after excelling at the Trotters.

Things never transpired and forming part of the ‘Bomb Squad’ did little for the player’s confidence during his time at the City Ground.

Clough has now departed Forest; Photo; Alex Livesey; Getty Images

At 26 though time is on his side. If he does well at Carlisle he could still forge a decent career out of the game and play at a higher level.

Of course, last night was a good start, although it was against non-league opposition. For Forest fans, the intrigue will come when the season gets underway and Clough should thrive in League Two.

Have something to tell us about this article?