OLDHAM Athletic are facing competition from at least two other clubs for the signature of free agent Luke Joyce.

The midfielder, who has left Port Vale at the end of his contract, was one of Keith Curle's first signings at Carlisle United.

And the Latics head coach revealed he has been in touch with the 33-year-old about a move to Boundary Park.

Curle said he would love a reunion Joyce as he seeks to build a squad to challenge in the top half of League Two next season.

And as well as being an experienced player, with almost 600 career appearances under his belt, Joyce fits the criteria for the leadership qualities that the Latics boss is looking for, having captain Accrington Stanley for three of the six years that he was with the Reds.

But Curle explained that Oldham were not the only ones chasing his signature.

And while the Latics' chief was closing in on first signing, describing it as "extremely imminent", it is expected that Joyce may take a little longer to decide on his future.

"I spoke to Luke recently and he's one that I've told to stay in contact," explained the 57-year-old, who recently penned a new two-year deal to remain as head coach.

"He's a very fit lad and knows the league, knows the level, knows what's required.

"I signed Luke (for Carlisle) from Accrington Stanley, where he was captain.

"He is a consummate professional, understands the game, understands his role, he's a very good character. He's someone that I've spoken to and I'm aware of his availability.

"He's been offered two or three contracts elsewhere and he's in a situation where he's weighing up what his options are."

But Curle hopes that having previously worked well together will have some sway when it comes to Joyce's deliberations.

"Luke joined the football club where we needed to go on a journey and I had a fantastic working relationship with him," he said.

"I enjoyed working with him, I enjoyed the success that we had.

"When we were at Carlisle we had three top 10 finishes and a play-off finish as well, so we had some good times."