WHEN it comes to Keith Curle getting to know his players, and vice versa, it is a case of learning on the job.

In the 19 days he has been in charge of Latics, today’s trip to Leyton Orient will be his sixth game in charge.

It has been a packed schedule, with more focus on match preparation than the nuances that could add an extra few per cent to individual performances that a midweek break might allow time for.

But, for Curle, there is no better way to learn this trade than in a game.

“It’s been a case that a lot of it is coaching from the sideline during games, using those games as an extra coaching session as well,” he told the Oldham Times.

“One of the hardest things to do is to recreate in training that game tempo, that match speed, so using the games as a coaching tool as well.

"Luckily I’ve got a voice that players can hear.”

He added: “I’d rather be sitting on the side of the pitch than taking a training session.

“I enjoy games, I know the players enjoy the games and I think when that reverberates through the squad we start looking forward to the games rather than it being a chore.”

With such a quick turnaround of fixtures Latics, like many teams, have felt the pinch on the treatment table.

Davis Keillor-Dunn was withdrawn at half-time when he complained of tightness to avoid exacerbating the problem, and it was a similar process in leaving Arsenal loanee Harry Clarke out of the squad altogether against Exeter.

But Curle is not tempted to wrap his players in cotton wool.

“We’re professional athletes, we are being asked to compete two or three times a week,” said the Latics boss.

“It’s not a hardship, it’s the mental side of the game whereby players have to be encouraged to think positively.

“Would they rather play a game or train? I think most players would rather play games.”

But Curle, who replaced Harry Kewell at the start of the month, has been working them hard on the training ground too as he bids to get the best out them.

“With all due respect I don’t know what’s gone on previously, I haven’t asked what they did previously, I’ve gone in and I have a set format of how I want to prepare for games and also recover from games so what they’ve been doing previously is down to the previous regime,” he said ahead of today's game at Brisbane Road.

“I’m not saying they are paying more attention, less attention; enjoying it more, enjoying it less; it’s not about that.

"What I will say is that we’ve got a changing room that’s attentive and they’ve taken on board the instructions and also they’re accepting the challenges that they face both individually and collectively.”