KEITH Curle has challenged his Latics players to take the next step of his time in charge and seal his first victory.

The head coach will go in search of three points at the fifth attempt tonight when Exeter visit Boundary Park.

Three draws in the four outings so far have by and large shown Latics to have a more solid look about them under Curle, who made stemming the flow of goals conceded his top priority after replacing Harry Kewell.

Now after his side had the better of things in Saturday’s goalless draw at Bradford, he wants to see things move up a gear against the play-off chasing Grecians.

“The defensive displays have been pleasing and I get the feeling there’s more to come,” Curle said.

“With the attacking threat our next key aim is being able to be comfortable in possession, there’s a good understanding of where we want to try and go and it’s just a case of them being a little bit more relaxed in the opposition’s half but also then being ruthless as well.

“I think the biggest thing is they’re going out and they’re enjoying their football, they’re playing with that licence that they can express themselves within a team structure.

“Ultimately, I’m no different to every single supporter though that I want to win a game of football, because that’s the icing on the cake.

“You want to win games and that’s our next step now, to consistently win games starting tomorrow.”

Curle is coming up against a side he has fond memories of facing, his Northampton side having seen off Exeter behind closed doors at Wembley in last season’s League Two play-off final.

He has been impressed with the work of boss Matt Taylor with the Grecians again in and around it at the right end of the table.

“We’re playing against a team that has been consistently, consistent over the years,” Curle said.

“They’ve always been in the top-half, in and around the play-offs and probably over the last three or four years, they’ve been a constant threat and a difficult side to beat.

“They’ve kept recruiting very well and again, it’s no surprise to me that they’re a team that’s operating within the top eight or nine in this division.

“I’ve got a lot of time for their manager and a lot of respect. I spoke to him after the play-off final and I was impressed with how they got themselves to the final.

“Obviously the manager was ultimately disappointed with their performance on the day but that can happen either way. So, again, we’re respectful but not fearful.”

Curle’s three draws have all come away from Boundary Park with his one game on home soil being a 4-2 defeat against Cambridge where familiar defensive issues came to the fore.

The Latics boss is expecting a similar challenge this evening.

“Exeter are showing consistency bears fruit in terms of challenging at the top because I think they’ve got a structure in place that they believe in and produce players of their own,” Curle said.

“All they need is a promotion now to back it up so we know it’s going to be a similar test to Cambridge in what I’ve faced as Oldham’s head coach so far, a side looking to get a positive result and take the game to us.”