LATICS’ plans for the new League Two season have kicked into gear ahead of the players returning to pre-season training on Monday.

Goalkeeper Gary Woods became summer signing number three hot on the heels of Morecambe player of the year Zak Mills’ arrival, Alex Iacovitti’s loan spell from Nottingham Forest having been made permanent at the start of the off-season.

The new faces are a welcome boost after the George Edmundson transfer saga ended with the academy product getting his big move to Rangers for a reported £650,000 plus add-ons.

Full-back Rob Hunt also had his contract cancelled by mutual consent before linking up with former Oldham boss Richie Wellens at Swindon.

The squad will work with new boss Laurent Banide for the first time on July 1 before flying out to Morocco, the home country of owner Abdallah Lemsagam, on Friday, July 5.

The 10-day pre-season training camp includes a game against Casablanca’s Raja Club Athletic on Sunday, July 14, at the Stade Adrar in Agadir where the team will be based.

Raja finished second in the Botola Pro League in 2018/19 and as a result will be playing in the CAF Champions League next season.

On the recruitment front, Woods arrives after leaving Hamilton Academical where he made 93 appearances across three years with the club.

The former Doncaster, Watford and Leyton Orient man, aged 28, was also a Scottish League Cup winner with Ross County in 2016 while on loan with the Dingwall outfit.  

The Oldham Times: New Oldham goalkeeper Gary WoodsNew Oldham goalkeeper Gary Woods

“I’ve been away from the English game for a while now and I had a few opportunities to go elsewhere, but once Oldham got in touch and I spoke to the owners about the vision and what they want to do with this club, it was the right fit for me,” said Woods after signing a two-year deal.

“I was impressed with everything they had to say, obviously I’ve not been here for a while at the stadium and the new stand looks brilliant, so I’m really looking forward to getting started.

“It was a fantastic opportunity here as I’ve never played in League Two. I’ve always played respectively higher, but for the vision of the club and what he wants to do, that’s why I wanted to be involved in a club that’s going to be winning games and pushing high up the table.

“At Hamilton, we were towards the lower end of the table, but I really enjoyed my time there and I’ve not got a bad word to say about the club, but now I’m looking for a fresh challenge.

“So I’m coming to somewhere that’s trying to win something and get up to League One.”

Woods admits the chance to go out to Morocco as part of the club’s pre-season was something that caught the eye.

“It will be good to get to know everyone and there’s not many clubs that will be going to Morocco for pre-season, never mind League Two clubs, so it shows the vision of the owners and what they want to do to to make sure they put on such a good pre-season trip for the lads,” said the keeper, a League One title winner with Rovers.

“It’s not going to be a holiday though as we’re there to work hard to make sure we’re in the right shape come the start of the season.

“For us, we have to go down there give our all, impress the new head coach and kick on for the start of the season.”

Right back Mills arrived on the same day Hunt was allowed to leave the club.

The Oldham Times: Zak Mills, right, in action for MorecambeZak Mills, right, in action for Morecambe

The 27-year-old has signed a one-year deal at Boundary Park having impressed in 38 appearances for the Shrimps, the defender winning three end of year awards at the Globe Arena.

“I had a fair bit of interest this summer, but what stood out for me was when I played against the club last season on a Tuesday evening, the fan base and the atmosphere I just remember leaving the ground, although we won, thinking this is the sort of club I would like to be at,” Mills said.

“Then when the interest came through, it was too hard to turn it down from a club of this size and its potential.

“I know the last couple of years the club hasn’t been going to plan and ideally we could swing that around this year and start to be part of something positive, whether that’s promotion or the play-offs.”