KEITH Curle says Latics’ trialists still have time to earn a place in his plans for the new season.

The Oldham head coach has had an influx of out of contract players working alongside his own signed players and trying to impress in the hope of securing a deal, with Ryan Hanson the latest name to emerge following his departure from Hull City.

Curle has fielded 10 trialists in each of their pre-season games so far. And on the eve of their first home friendly, against League One Wigan Athletic on Saturday in what is now a behind closed doors fixture, he is expected to continue running the rule over free agents.

There could even be another intake before the transfer window closes and Curle finalises his squad for the 2021/22 season.

For after making five summer signings so far, Latics' head coach has purposefully left enough room in his squad - and his budget - to pinpoint precisely where he needs to strengthen, and the types of players required, during the remainder of the pre-season programme.

Curle has fielded a total of 10 trialists in each of their opening friendlies against non-league opposition in Ashton United and Stalybridge Celtic. Eight started at Ashton last Saturday, while six, including former Latics captain Dean Furman, started Stalybridge on Tuesday night.

Asked whether the midweek fixture was decision day for the trialists, Curle said he was keeping his options open.

"There's still a bit longer for some, and there may still be a few more coming in," he said.

"I think that was important with the conversations I've had with Mo (Lemsagam), the sporting director - we didn't want to say 'let's get 22 players in early' and then sometimes that can clog up your changing room.

"It's vitally important we bring in the right players and there are still players available, still players that are being made available. We want to make sure we've got room in the budget and in the changing room."

But Curle is pleased with the foundation he has got to build on as he bids to mould a squad that is at least capable of competing in the top half of League Two this season.

"We know last season we had a very good goals for, shocking goals against. First and foremost it's getting the foundation," said the Latics boss, who has so far signed Jordan Clarke, Harrison McGahey, Sam Hart, Hallam Hope and goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler, who is currently away on international duty with Canada.

"Of the five players we've got four of them are defence minded players.

"It's a good foundation to build from.

"The summer months were spent speaking to players, speaking to potential targets and speaking to the lads that have come in.

"It's all well and good them understanding what I'm saying, explaining it on paper and on the training ground, it's on the matchday where they show their understanding of what's required. A clean sheet (at Stalybridge) shows we're going in the right direction."