Gavin Skelton says Zach Clough should put himself under less pressure as he bids to be a success at Carlisle United.

The caretaker manager says summer signing Clough is “desperate” to do well for the Cumbrians.

Skelton said the former Bolton Wanderers star can build on a good midweek display at Newport if he allows himself to play with freedom.

“It’s almost a case of just telling him [Clough] to go and play, and not be thinking too much,” Skelton said.

“He’s so desperate and keen to do well, probably more so than anyone, and he wants to really reward the club for taking him.

“He’s committed to the area and moved to the area. He’s all in. He and his girlfriend have bought a house up here.

“Sometimes you can watch someone trying too hard, and it’s almost a need to take the pressure off himself.

“He’s shown glimpses, we see it in training; in games not as much yet, but hopefully he can have that belief, relax and we can see what a fantastic player he is.”

Clough set up Joe Riley’s opener at Newport with a clever backheel, before converting the second-half penalty that earned Carlisle a point.

He is likely to keep his place in the side to face Oldham at Brunton Park tomorrow.

Skelton said the 26-year-old had been affected by United’s poor run of form but can build on his showing in Wales.

“I’m sure he’ll take confidence from how he played and start to have the belief in himself he should have for the ability he’s got,” the caretaker boss said.

“He’s a fantastic player, he has some unbelievable ability in training and it’s just about putting that onto the pitch.

“It’s been a frustrating time for everyone in terms of performances and results, and he’s been affected by that, but he’s a good player and you want him on the ball.

“We talked to him about taking more responsibility when it comes to getting on the ball, and we know he’s working on the other side of his game.

“In possession he can be fantastic, he creates things and makes things happen, and we want more of that from him.

“I was also pleased he had the confidence to take his penalty. Him and Brad Young had a ‘discussion’ about it, but he used his seniority and he dealt with the pressure of being 2-1 down and he put it away.

“Hopefully he’ll now feel good about himself. He was disappointed when I took him off on Tuesday [when] I felt he’d run out of energy, but that shows that he felt he could have carried on. That’s good for him and us.”