KEITH Curle feels Dylan Bahamboula has returned to Latics with extra confidence having had a taste of Championship life.

The Congo international spent a week on trial with Middlesbrough with a view to a permanent move, Neil Warnock ultimately passing on a deal for the 26-year-old.

Bahamboula, a real fans’ favourite at Latics despite not playing in front of a Boundary Park crowd to date, is now back in the fold and played in the pre-season friendly defeat against Wigan.

Curle believes despite any uncertainty over his future, the stint training at a higher level will have done the winger the world of good going forwards.

"He's come back in good shape and come back with a smile on his face, which is important, but I knew he would do,” the Oldham boss said.

“I know the environment that he went up to there with Neil, Ronnie Jepson and Kevin Blackwell, I know he will have been looked after.

"It's no disgrace that he's coming back to us.

"He knows that people will be watching him.

"He's been training at a fantastic football club with fantastic facilities, with very good players that have got ambitions to get promoted into the Premier League, so that can't do him any harm.”

Bahamboula is contracted at Latics until the summer of 2022 with any Boro deal reported to have been worth an initial £150,000, potentially doubling should the Teessiders reach the Premier League.

That is now off the table with the trickster playing the first half against Wigan.