So here we are at the artificially-manufactured behemoth that is transfer deadline day, only this time it’s not proper deadline day, it’s loan deadline day.
Or, as Bolton Wanderers fans know it, time-to-bring-back-a-former-player day.
In previous seasons, this has been used as a tool to reconnect disaffected fans with their struggling team. To paper over the cracks if you will - we have seen the likes of Adam Le Fondre and indeed the subject of this piece, Zach Clough, return on loan from afar to bring new life into struggling campaigns.
However, the feeling is much different this time round.
Wanderers are doing well. They’ve started the season so well that supporter expectations have increased alongside the performances of the team. On this basis, would we want a former player back as has become an almost-custom?
Well, I for one still think so. I would have Zach Clough back.
Since being forced to leave Bolton for the sake of the club, Clough’s once-promising career has stuttered, to say the very least. Nottingham Forest was, in hindsight, the wrong club for the lad. To go somewhere notorious for instability was always likely to bite him on the bum, which turned out to be the case.
An ill-fated loan spell back at Wanderers (brought in on deadline day, naturally) failed to spark despite an encouraging start, with his appearances from the bench being sporadic at best.
My argument, however, is that that was a different Bolton Wanderers.
Last season we fought and struggled and battled our way to unlikely survival. Clough, for all his phenomenal talents, was not the player that we needed at that time.
However, the time to bring in someone with his qualities is absolutely now. A team on the up, with the wind in its sails is exactly the sort of place where someone like Zach would thrive. Capable of playing in multiple positions across the front line, he would provide us with more options than a Toby Carvery buffet.
His ability to drift in from wide positions and with his eye for goal I could easily see such a move working out where the previous effort failed.
Sometimes it’s all down to timing, and where timing might have been wrong but I believe that given the situation at Wanderers now, things would be a whole lot different for him and for us.
I doubt it’ll happen, unfortunately, but I would be delighted if it did.