KEITH Curle will look for his Latics side to take the next step in their build-up the new season at Stalybridge tonight.

Oldham opened with a 2-1 win at neighbours Ashton United on Saturday and make another short trip to Bower Fold this evening to face a second Northern Premier League side.

Curle fielded a host of trailists against Ashton and is likely to do so again this evening as he looks to mould a squad capable competing at the sharp end of League Two next season.

More mixing and matching will be the order of the day, as the Latics boss bids to piece together his preferred set-up over the next month.

“I look for different things, different formations, different personnel, rotation of personnel to try to get those combinations working together and have a picture. It’s little building blocks,” he said.

“Will the team be complete by the start of the season? Is that going to be the starting XI that you say ‘that’s going to take us through’.

“We need a squad and that’s the important thing. We’re building a squad with a team mentality.”

In terms of trialists, of which eight started at Ashton and two more played in the second half, Curle added: “I think there might be a few more players that we’re looking at as well.”

Latics’ pre-season campaign also takes in games at home to higher league opposition in Wigan Athletic, Burnley and Crewe Alexandra, a ‘select XI’ also playing on the same day as the Clarets game, July 24, around the corner at North West Counties Premier Division side Avro.

There is still one date to be finalised with Huddersfield having cancelled the planned game on July 31 after deciding to bring forward their Carabao Cup first round tie to that weekend, meaning a proposed trip to the John Smith’s Stadium had to be scrapped.

“We’ve got a few options in the pipeline,” Curle said of replacing the game against the Championship Terriers.

“A few games have been offered behind closed doors or training ground games.

“It’s just a case of picking the right one that suits us at the minute.”

Should a game be finalised that will make it six pre-season outings for Latics before kicking their League Two campaign off at home to last season’s play-off finalists Newport County on August 7. The head coach admits that in some respects he would have liked more, believing there is no substitute for match action.

“I always think the best way to get fit for football is to play football, so if it was down to me I would have played more games,” Curle said.

“But it’s making sure it’s not too tiresome for the players and making sure we get the rest and the work ratio correct.”