Oldham Athletic have made it "a priority" to secure another loan for Josh Stones, but accept the situation could be out of their hands.

Stones was arguably manager Micky Mellon's most successful signing last season, despite playing only four games.

The young striker hit it off immediately with top scorer James Norwood in his month-long loan from Wigan Athletic.

But just as Oldham were looking into the possibility of extending Stones' initial month-long stay, his spell at Boundary Park was cruelly cut short by a season ending foot injury.

Stones has made a full recovery and returned to pre-season training with Wigan on Monday, with Latics keeping an eye on the 20-year-old's situation.

Asked whether Oldham would look at securing a return for Stones in the 2024/25 season, chief executive Darren Royle said: "Josh Stones loves the club and we love him, and we'd love to have the chance of bringing him back.

"It's a priority, but we've got to be realistic as well, I'm sure he's someone who would figure in Wigan's first team squad. What they have got to weigh up is, is he someone that needs games again?

"If there's any chance of signing him then we would do. That's where we are with it."

Stones, who scored three goals in his four games on loan, was an instant hit with Latics fans, and even came back to support the club in a couple of fixtures towards the end of last season during his rehabilitation.

Royle added: "I think everyone got to realise that he cared and was passionate.

"He put a massive shift in and was great for the culture around the dressing room and he scored goals, very good goals, and won us games. What more do you want?"

But Latics are mindful that his parent club could have their own plans for Stones this summer.

The forward was put through his paces along with the rest of the Wigan squad on the first day of pre-season training at Christopher Park, and manager Shaun Maloney has previously said: "Josh Stones is definitely going to get his opportunity .

"Before his injury at Oldham he was on fire. He will get an opportunity in pre-season.

"We will sign another number nine. That is taking longer than the other positions, but we are trying really hard."

Whatever the outcome of Oldham's Stones enquiries, the club will against look to utilise the loan market this season to help supplement and boost the squad.

"Definitely," said Royle. "But with loan players it's a case of them doing their pre-seasons at their parent clubs, waiting to see what they're doing, where they're going, what loan it is - the first or the second loan.

"Probably in the National League we're going to get more first loans.

"We certainly had some young players here two seasons ago that were exciting prospects and definitely added to the team effort in helping us get results."