KEITH Curle insists he still has the appetite for the Oldham Athletic job, but says that hunger is not being mirrored in the dressing room.

Curle blamed a “lack of fight” and also questioned the players’ professionalism after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Mansfield.

Zak Dearnley scored on his comeback from injury but positives were otherwise at a premium as the Stags dominated and could have had an even greater margin of victory but for better finishing

And Curle pulled no punches in his assessment of the performance, or standards that he sees in his squad.

"They're playing professional football, and I don't think the word professional means enough to some of these players,” he said.

“You're in a competitive industry, which means you need to compete. We didn't have enough players who wanted to compete, be professional and do the right thing.

"I'm familiar with this division and what's needed to be successful in this division. You've got to have a hunger, you've got to have a desire within the group, you've got to have a work ethic within the group and an understanding of what good looks like. We can play some good football at times, but we don't win enough games.”

Latics remain League Two’s top scorers with 72 but have now conceded 78 - that is 12 more than relegated Grimsby, who have the second leakiest defence in the division.

“Going back to my playing days, going back to my coaching days, whenever I've come to Oldham everything you got you earned,” added Curle. “There was a hunger about the football club, the changing room, the players, that's not here at the minute.”

The 57-year-old remains in talks about his future at Boundary Park, with his current deal due to expire after Saturday’s final game of the season at home to Forest Green. And he insists he is the man to restore core footballing values.

"It's what I do,” said the former Carlisle and Northampton boss.

"I think every job has short, medium and long-term plans. First and foremost you want to get the direction of where a club wants to go to then you're selective about the people that you take on that journey with you.

"Do I think I can do the job? Yes.

"Am I brave enough to make changes? Do I make the right changes?

"I don't make changes for the sake of changes. I can identify people that can go on a journey that can get the football club where they need to go.”