‘I feel like I’m really fit, my body feels good and I’m looking forward to hopefully a good season’: Clough

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Adelaide United midfielder Zach Clough is not expecting his side to get any advantage from Melbourne City’s mid-week match in Asia, when the sides meet at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

The Reds will be looking to continue a seven-game unbeaten run at the venue against last season’s Isuzu UTE A-League premiers, and build on the season-opening win over reigning Champions Central Coast last Friday.

Sunday’s game will be the first A-League’s Mental Health game, raising awareness and much needed funds for mental health research as part of a partnership with Breakthrough Mental Health.

Clough had one of his better performances as a Red against the Mariners, bagging a goal and being involved in the build up to another goal.

Speaking to media on Thursday, the Englishman discussed getting acclimatised to Australian football, just how special a player Nestory Irankunda is, and how he is helping his countryman Ryan Tunnicliffe settle into the competition.

Zach Clough on his own fitness and getting used to the conditions in the A-League:

“I’m probably as fit as I was last year. I was really fit last year to start the season. I went a few years without playing a lot of football before I came to Australia so it took me time because I wasn’t fully fit when I came here. It was always going to take time to get used to playing 90 minutes, like playing football fitness again. But I feel like I’m really fit, my body feels good and I’m looking forward to hopefully a good season.

“I still don’t understand why we play during the summer here but yes, it’s hard to play in heat but I think even the Australian players say it’s hard to adjust to those conditions. I don’t really worry too much about the weather now, I just concentrate on the football.”

Zach Clough on whether his side will get any advantage from Melbourne City playing midweek in Thailand:

“I think they brought a lot of players off early on in the game so I think they’ll still be good no matter what and we will still prepare exactly the same way, I don’t think we need to think too much about them. But, maybe they’ll be a little bit fatigued so it may give us a little bit of an extra kick in the game.”

Zach Clough on this week being the first ever A-League Breakthrough Mental Health game, raising money for Mental Health research:

“It’s going to be the first (Mental Health) game ever in Australia (in the A-League). In England, we did have something called The Mind, but to help Breakthrough come in and for us at the club to support this straightaway and to play a round, it’s really good. Mental health is a really big issue in the world, and especially in men. I think sport can really help. People coming to games, it makes you feel happy. And to come and support Adelaide and all the teams in the league, it does it make you feel happy, and it can really help people.”

Zach Clough on whether he had seen a talent like Nestory Irankunda in the UK:

“It’s hard to get an opportunity that young in the UK. But what he has is very special. The power he possesses. The speed is just a bit frightening really. He has everything to go to the very top I believe.

“I think it’s down to him. It’s down to the coaches and it’s down to the boys being with him every day and you keep pushing him and don’t let him take his foot off the gas. You need to stay grounded. And as a player, you need to stay focused, because it isn’t easy to get away from football with the amount of outside noise these days.”

Zach Clough on helping fellow Englishman Ryan Tunnicliffe settle into life in Adelaide:

“I took out for dinner with me and my missus. His partner isn’t here yet, but he’s loving Adelaide and he settled into his house now. We grew up about 10 kilometers away from each other and so it’s crazy to be back in Adelaide now at this stage of my career is playing together.”

Zach Clough on the support at Coopers Stadium:

“It’s amazing every time we play at home we get great support and hopefully they can be here again on Sunday night for a huge game. We know it’s Round 2 but it’s a huge game because they won the league last year. I know they were beaten by Central Coast in the final but I think they were always going to be one of the teams to beat in this league and have signed a lot of players.”

Adelaide United take on Melbourne City on Sunday October 29 at 6:30pm at Coopers Stadium. Tickets are available here.

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