He has been a Premier League player and FA Cup winner; he has helped to shape the careers of young men who have gone on to become established top flight and international footballers; but David Unsworth says he has not cared more about anything in his career than rebuilding Oldham Athletic.

Things are not going to plan right now, on the pitch at least.

Unsworth has done untold work - unseen to the paying punter - behind the scenes in establishing a footballing infrastructure that was badly lacking when he arrived, and one that can work in tandem with the other areas of the club that are taking shape and growing.

For the first time in years, Oldham Athletic is a club coming together with all aspects of it soon to come under one ownership with the Rothwell family.

But there remains division.

Latics fans, at Notts County on Boxing Day in particular, left former Everton defender and Academy manager Unsworth in no doubt as to their feelings towards results and performance.

Unsworth is not immune to it or desensitised to it. He acknowledges their pain, and feels it himself.

“I’ve never ever wanted something as badly as I do to bring success here because when it comes we can just enjoy the ride. That’s the easy bit. The hardest bit is now; the hardest bit for the fans, for the players and the staff is now. But we’ll come through it, without a shadow of a doubt. We’ve no option but to come through it because I’m never going to give up and my players are never going to give up,” said the Latics boss, who took charge 100 days ago today.

"I heard their anger, I totally, totally understand it.

“Notts County have not lost at home, they're a really good team, and they could do that to anybody on their day. But we have our standards and we fell below them, which is not acceptable. And I felt sorry for the fans.

"I've got an opportunity in this interview to speak to every fan, when you're not emotionally involved in the game, and to just apologise for that performance and assure them that we're going to work every single hour that we possibly can to pull away from the difficulties that we find ourselves in. I know the boys will do it. I know what we're capable of, I know what we're not capable of, but I am sure that we will pull away.”

And Unsworth emphasised the need for togetherness.

"This is a total rebuild, and without the fans we can't rebuild it. Nobody can. Nobody can rebuild a club that's gone through what it has, what we inherited, what the club's come up against over the years. We just all have to rebuild it together. If the fans aren't on board we can't do that. We desperately need them,” he said.

Unsworth has come in for criticism for not showing emotion on the touchline or enough acknowledgement of fans, to which he responded: “I care about this club more than I care about anything I’ve achieved in football.

“I’m not a fist-pumping Jurgen Klopp or Antonio Conte, I’m not that type of manager in terms of showing that emotion. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care. I’m here 12 hours a day, six days a week, working late at night, going to games. I care more about this job... this is my first real job in management and I want to get it right, and I won’t stop.

“We’ve all got different personalities and different characters and I need to let the Oldham fans know that they’ve got one of the most passionate, dedicated managers that they’ll ever have. Just because I’m not jumping up and down... I can’t anyway with my knees at the moment!”

But Unsworth, who is struggling with a knee problem despite a recent meniscus operation, is prepared to keep putting himself through the pain barrier to get Latics out of their current plight.

"It's a huge, huge job and probably bigger than I thought it would be. But being in here and being with the staff here it has only made me more determined to build this club back from the ground, really,” he explained.

“I think when I first came in you’re trying to assess the squad very quickly and trying to give everyone the opportunity to impress. Alongside that you’re looking at all the areas that need setting up and that needs the infrastructure of what goes on behind the team, behind the scenes, the training ground, everything else associated with building departments and building a successful football club.

“And we’ve started from scratch. We’re 100 days into potentially a two/three/four-year plan and that’s why I signed the length of contract I did because I felt it would take a lot of that. We all want success overnight and if it comes you’re very lucky and it doesn’t come very often. When you build something you build it with the right infrastructure, the right people and everyone comes on the journey.

“There will be bumps along the road, there always are. Football’s the toughest industry and it’s getting tougher. This is the National League but it’s League Three, let me assure you, because the professionalism, the standard... I’ve been amazed at the standard. It’s great to see the standard has improved of teams, the style of play, the quality of players that are dropping down, it’s fantastic, and alongside that goes the infrastructure as well. We have started from scratch.

“The job is bigger than I initially thought and things have not gone as well but we will get there. I have no doubt. There are great people at this club, it has the nucleus of a really good squad. I will back the players, I will support the players. We may have to change the way we play to get a few results and to get the ball rolling. We want to play good football but we might just have to tweak that and go to different ways of playing.”

Unsworth added: “We have started from the ashes of building a football club. I know that now, 100 days in, that’s definitely the case.

“But it only makes my desire even more because when you get the good times, you don’t half appreciate them, how hard people are working and what we’re all trying to do to achieve success. And every single club’s trying to do it, and we’ve no God-given right just because we’re a big club. This is a club that’s being rebuilt from the ashes of what’s gone before.

"It's a huge January coming up and obviously the aim is to pull away from the danger.

"I have to stress, being in it every day, the fans at this football club are so important to the team and to the staff that we just can't have any factions.

"We desperately need them. I need them, the players need them.

"The performance against Notts County was not acceptable. The fans have paid incredible money to go and travel and spend time away from their families on Boxing Day and I really appreciate that.

"Times are hard in terms of money and people paying their bills and stuff like that.

"Myself and the players have just got to ensure that days like that don't happen again.

"But defeats only strengthen the resolve to succeed. I'm desperate to put it right, alongside the players as well.”