By Danny Wright

30th Mar, 2017 | 6:00am

Garry Birtles: 22-year-old has to start for Nottingham Forest v Preston

By Danny Wright

Nottingham Forest legend Garry Birtles wants Mark Warburton to start Zach Clough against Preston on Saturday.

Birtles believes that Warburton has to opt for the 22-year-old if he is hoping to help steer the club away from the relegation dog fight at the bottom-end of the Championship table.

Clough is a new signing at the City Ground but he has already hit the ground running with his new employers.

The ex-Bolton striker has hit four goals in his last four outings for the Reds which included a brilliant brace against promotion-contenders Brighton in a surprise 3-0 win.

Birtles, who won two European Cups in his playing days at Forest, was happy to see Clough arrive on the banks of the river Trent in January and has urged Warburton to start to give him more time on the pitch.

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“For me, you have to get Zach Clough in the team… He has to play,” said Birtles in his column on the Nottingham Post website.

“I was delighted when he signed in January. He’s a great addition. He can be very positive going forward and he scores goals as well.

“Someone is going to be upset, but you can’t fit everyone in. It’s up to the manager to make those big calls. That’s what being a manager is about. It’s why they get paid the big bucks.”

Clough has only started five matches for Forest since he secured his winter switch to the club but has still managed to prove himself as a reliable source of goals in recent weeks.

He made 68 appearances for Bolton in all competitions and managed to find the net on 22 occasions, which is pretty impressive considering his tender age.

The clash at Deepdale will be Warburton’s first game in charge away from the City Ground after he drew his opening fixture at the club 2-2 with Derby before the international break.

In other Nottingham Forest news, a senior England figure has said this star has staked a claim to play in an international tournament.

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