KEITH Curle is looking forward to welcoming Harry Vaughan back into the Latics fold.

The teenager, who was fast-tracked to his first professional deal in the summer, missed the opening two friendlies after being identified as a close contact of a Covid case and having to self-isolate.

However, it is hoped he will be available for selection against League One Wigan on Saturday.

“He’s chomping at the bit to get out of the house. They’ve had to shut the cat flap and everything so he doesn’t get out!,” joked Curle, who is ready for Latics to take their pre-season preparations up a notch this weekend.

“It’s how pre-season is designed, you know we’re going to get players in for us to look at so ideally we would have liked one more game last week but understand it might have been too much.

“We’ve got two good tests in Wigan and Burnley.”

Asked what he was expecting from Wigan, he said: “A competitive pre-season game. No expectations apart from that, but we will compete.”

Curle was pleased with the progress he saw in just a few days between the Ashton United and Stalybridge Celtic friendlies.

“There are a few tactical things that we’ve been working on, and the two goals, getting forward runs and movement off the ball and being a threat in behind. Excellent when it pays off,” he said.

“And there are other things within that, like moving the ball into wide areas and creating one-v-ones in areas, making sure we don’t get overloaded. In the first half I don’t think they had a shot or a cross on target. Second half I think they had one scramble from a corner, then apart from that a couple of good tackles at the back but we weren’t exposed.”