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The Wanderer Returns
Tuesday 20th October 2015 @ 11:13 by Mark Phillip
Denton & Audenshaw Football Sports

Former Audenshaw School pupil Zach Clough has signed a contract extension with Bolton Wanderers.

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The 20-year-old has prolonged his stay at the Macron Stadium until the summer of 2019 after putting pen to paper on Monday morning.

Zach first came to prominence with the Trotters when he scored their winning goal against Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup on 3rd January.

Four weeks later and Zach was scoring again, this time against Wolverhampton Wanderers in a SkyBet Championship clash.

A perfectly executed free kick into the top left corner was followed two minutes later by a clinical finish inside the box.

The former Audenshaw star may have only been a first team regular since the beginning of January, but his confidence in front of goal would make you think otherwise.

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Scoring goals comes naturally to Zach, and the striker – who is currently side-lined with a shoulder injury – is well aware of his presence on the pitch.

At the end of last season, Zach told Reporter Sport: “I have always scored goals throughout the academy age groups and to have scored goals for the first team shows that I can do it on a bigger stage.”

Bolton took on Liverpool in the FA Cup Fourth Round Replay last season on but fell to a 2-1 loss.

Despite being eliminated from the competition, Zach won the penalty which resulted in his side taking a surprising lead.

Following the game, former Bolton player Fabrice Muamba – best known for surviving a cardiac arrest during the clubs FA Cup clash against Tottenham in 2012 – described Zach as the best player on the pitch.

Despite taking the plaudits on a regular basis, Zach never thought he would come face to face with one of his childhood heroes. “It was a great moment in my career to be playing against Liverpool for the club I have been at for 11 years” he said.

“I remember being a little boy and watching the likes of Steven Gerrard at the exact same stadium, so to be playing against him was a great achievement for me.”

Having scored his sixth goal for Wanderers during their 1-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion at the end of February, disaster struck for the youngster just three days later.

Zach was ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a dislocated shoulder against Reading.

Regarded as a real fans favourite, Zach – otherwise known as ‘the little man’ – has endeared himself to the Bolton faithful.

His quality on the pitch has also attracted interest from top flight clubs, with rumours circulating over summer that near neighbours Manchester United were interested in the youngster.

Zach’s efforts last season saw him nominated for the MBNA Northwest Football Awards’ 2015 Mob Sport Rising Star of the Year award.

Bolton currently find themselves at the foot of the Championship table on eight points having played 12 games.

Neil Lennon’s side fell to a 1-0 loss against Birmingham City on Tuesday.