LOCATION, location, location is something that John Sheridan says will be factored into his search for new players this summer.

For the Oldham Athletic head coach believes it is important footballers are close to their families and not cut adrift for large chunks of the season.

Latics have had a number of players from overseas in recent seasons, as well as players from non-neighbouring counties, which have meant temporary stays in hotels or apartments during the week and only going home to see family at weekends, if at all.

And Sheridan believes that can have a detrimental affect on a players' mentality if they feel isolated or cut off from family life.

"I like players to live locally. You're a better player when you're going home to your family every day. I think so anyway," said the Latics head coach.

"Location is massive with me so I'll be looking at players who are going home every night.

"I don't want people who find it difficult away from families.

"If you're not playing in the team it's always nice to go home. If you're not in the team and you're going back to a hotel or apartment, it doesn't sit right with me.

"Those things will come into the thinking as well as what kind of players I'm trying to sign."

Proximity to family was a situation was highlighted during coronavirus lockdowns when non-essential travel was not permitted and players were confined to their premises.

And few felt more isolated than Australian striker George Blackwood, who was not only on the other side of the world from his loved ones, having been signed by then head coach Harry Kewell from Adelaide United in September 20202, but went on to suffer a serious back injury.

He lived alone in an apartment on Salford Quays, could not have visitors under lockdown restrictions and had nowhere to go other than the football club for treatment.

"I had a fracture in my back so I could barely do anything. I was just on the bike trying to keep as fit as possible,” said Blackwood.

"Apart from that I couldn’t run, I couldn’t do anything. Then when I came back from that, that increase in load after two months of no running sort of stuffed me up a bit and I had to sit out a bit longer.

"With that injury it was just recover and let it heal and just bide your time. You can’t really do much with it to be fair. It’s been really tough, obviously moving halfway across the world to sort of sit on my couch and do nothing in the gym.

"It’s been tough but that’s football sometimes, you’ve got to get over it and make sure that you get your body right and come back stronger and that’s what I’ve tried to do with the physios here (at the club)."

He added: "When you're injured for three or four months it's not ideal that you have to go home and sit in a box for 24 hours before you rock up to training the next day. But I think whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger a little bit with that.

"It couldn't have got any worse than that time."