KEITH Curle is ready to start a recruitment drive with Oldham Athletic, with the aim of building a squad that can challenge in the top half of League Two next season.

The 57-year-old signed a two-year deal as Latics head coach this week. And with just 11 recognised senior players on the books for next season - along with three scholars who have earned their first professional contracts - there is work to do in the transfer market.

Curle confirmed he will work in tandem with sporting director Mohamed Lemsagam on identifying and securing targets.

And with his vision of establishing a hard-working, versatile team that is hard to beat, he knows the types of players that he is looking for.

"This is where myself and the sporting director will work together with recruitment, bringing in players that fit the mould and fit the identity that we need to try to create," said the former Carlisle and Northampton boss.

"We need to create a culture at the football club, at the training ground, every day in training, every game needs to be representative of the identity that we want to try to create.

"I want us to be hard to beat, I want us to earn the right to play and I want the players to be brave enough to express themselves.

"The biggest thing now is going to be recruitment because we are short on numbers and we need to build a squad that's capable of operating in the top half of this division.

"People might say, 'if you get into the top half of a division the play-offs aren't far away, or promotion isn't far away'.

"You look at the play-offs this season - competitive, but two teams that we competed very well against. Last game of the season Forest Green, for 45 minutes we were the better team, we showed our frailty probably in the second half with some of the goals that we conceded but they are areas that we need to improve.

"Statistically, scoring 72 goals you'd expect to be in and around the play-offs, scoring that many goals. Concede 78 and you've got every right to think you're going to be in a relegation battle. So the easiest thing to do is think we need some experience, we need some defenders, but we don't want to take away that attacking flair and threat and scoring goals and entertaining supporters."

He added: "We've got some exciting players. We try to play entertaining, free flowing, attacking football, but we need to be able to keep the back door shut. We need some experience, we need some game knowledge and know-how and we need to be a horrible team to beat."

Curle inherited the existing Latics squad when he replaced Harry Kewell at Boundary Park in March, so he is relishing his first transfer window with the club.

But although he moved early in the market during his last summer with Northampton Town, following promotion from League Two, he warned that the squad will not be assembled overnight.

"I'm not going to sign anybody just to sign somebody, to appease anybody," he said.

"Everybody that we sign as a football club will be part of a plan going forward.

"You get a jigsaw puzzle and you're putting those pieces together. We've got 46 games to do it. Will the jigsaw puzzle be complete the first day of pre-season, the likelihood it's not.

"Will we acquire different pieces at different times? Yes we will do.

"It's having the picture at the end.

"You get a jigsaw puzzle, you look at the box, you can see the finished picture, but take the lid off and all you've got is fragmented little pieces - it's about putting those pieces together.

"You don't do a jigsaw puzzle in a day. Not the difficult ones anyway."