KEITH Curle is the right man to take Oldham Athletic onwards, and upwards. That is the view of club legend Andy Ritchie.

The former Latics hotshot went head-to-head plenty of times on the pitch with former Manchester City defender Curle in their playing days.

But Ritchie says Curle’s managerial career has been just as impressive, and he insists he is the right man to steady the ship at Boundary Park.

“I think so. From what I’ve seen of the team this season, and it’s only been very sparse, I’ve done a couple of radio commentaries, I’ve felt that one of the problems is defensively. They seem to be at sixes and sevens sometimes,” said Ritchie.

“Keith being a very good ex-centre half that’s played in some very good teams – Manchester City obviously, and other places – I would expect would have a way of wanting to address that. But he’s obviously got to get the right players to play the way he wants.

“It’s just been so short a time for him to try to do that with so many games thick and fast you just don’t have time on the training ground to really get his teeth into it, which he would be able to with a pre-season.

“And getting your own players in is a big thing.”

But after years of instability, with Curle the NINTH manager in just three years under the ownership of Abdallah Lemsagam, Ritchie says that he – or whoever is in charge – MUST be given time to put their stamp on the club.

“The major thing for me is stability,” he said.

“The players need stability. They are creatures of habit and once they buy into a situation they need to know that person is going to be there for quite some time, and it takes a while for the players to get into the structure that the new manager or coach or whatever you want to call them these days wants to do with them.

“I’m not sure that Keith has had long enough to get that into them anyway in the tenure he’s already just had.

“He’s done well before, he knows the leagues, all power to his elbow for me.

“But he’s got to realise that he might not have that chance of staying there too long with the owner and the way he’s gone before.”

Ritchie added: “A good amount of time is at least a good season, but is that going to be afforded? I doubt it with the current owners. They want to turn around straight away and that just doesn’t happen unfortunately.

“I think there are a lot of things that Keith will have to get assurances about.

“I don’t envy him, not because it’s Oldham, I just don’t envy him doing what he’s doing. I would not be getting back into it at all, it doesn’t interest me at all. I’ve had my fill of being a manager or a coach. I hope he makes the right decision.”