HARRY Kewell insists it was always going to be a “rocky road” getting Latics heading back in the right direction.

Oldham welcome struggling Southend on Saturday at the end of another inconsistent week.  

Fans saw Kewell’s side at their best in last Saturday’s 3-1 win at Carlisle before Kyle Jameson’s red card played a big part in the 2-0 defeat against Bolton on Tuesday night.

It all means Latics are 17th with 15 games to play, but Kewell believes that is par for the course given pre-season predictions about his side’s chances this campaign and the upheaval at Boundary Park in recent seasons.

"I love the experience but I think a lot of people forget we were second favourites to go down so I think we're holding up,” the head coach said.  

“I think we're holding up well and I think what we're trying to achieve here it's not going to be easy, it's going to be tough.

“The owner knows it, we are all working together, and it is going to be a rocky road.

“No-one said this was going to be smooth sailing, get promotion, get promotion, get promotion again.

“It's not going to happen like that. It takes time, it takes building, it takes an effort from everybody to make sure we're heading in the right direction.”

Jameson starts a three-game ban against the Shrimpers with his indiscretion the latest in a long line of self-inflicted wounds for Kewell’s Latics this season.

Excellent in attack at times, it has been things heading in the other direction that leave them in the wrong half of the League Two table with a third of the season to go.

Stringing results together has also proved elusive during the Australian’s time in charge.

"We're like on a rollercoaster and I don't like that because a sign of a good team is consistency, and consistency is a work ethic and it's about producing that standard, and if you can produce that standard week in, week out, whether you win or lose, that's a different thing,” he said.

"Because it only takes a human error, a human mistake to change a game.

“We worked all week on what it was, we felt good, we looked good, but we had to alternate it and things chop and change (against Bolton).

"But, we knew it was going to be a fight. We still have 15 games left to go, still plenty of points up for grabs, and that's how we'll look at it.”