KEITH Curle has accused the English Football League of trying to make Oldham Athletic "fail".

The Latics head coach said his pre-match preparations for last night's League Cup third round tie at Premier League newcomers Brentford were severely hampered by negotiations over player registration, as well as other elements relating to their loan agreement with the EFL.

Latics have a squad cap of 23 after being placed under a transfer embargo as a result of the conditions of the loan, with Latics one of three recipients during the coronavirus pandemic, alongside Scunthorpe United and Swindon Town.

Before last night's game, which Latics lost 7-0, the club had 21 players registered as both 'in squad players' and 'under 21 contract players', leaving room for one more registration.

And with injuries now hitting double figures after striker Hallam Hope became the latest to join the queue for the treatment room following Saturday's goalless draw at home to Hartlepool, Curle was left with no choice but to make Benny Couto the club's 22nd player.

But discussions with the EFL over their options continued until the 11th hour before last night's cup tie at Brentford's Community Stadium, and ultimately meant Curle could only name four substitutes, made up of three outfield players and the club's Academy goalkeeper Kacper Danielewicz.

"At half past five I still couldn't name my team because the club could not get an answer out of the EFL regarding money being transferred," said Curle.

"The football club have jumped through hoops and done everything required. At half five they (the EFL) said, 'If you play this 17-year-old he becomes an established player within your 22'.

"I think they are trying to make us fail here.

“We couldn’t do a team meeting because we had to wait until quarter past-half past five as we had to wait for confirmation from the EFL whether I could start one player and two of the younger players. It’s had to go to their legal team, so preparation hasn’t been ideal. My team talk was on the pitch."

Curle added: “On a daily basis there are different challenges, but my attitude and what I keep on telling people, it is what it is, deal with it, and that’s what I get paid to do.

“We’ve got 15 players unavailable that couldn't start the game, either through injury, through restrictions from the EFL or one player being cup tied.

“You take that many players out of any squad out of any division, you’re not going to get consistent results, and that’s where we’re at at the minute.

“We’re bottom of the league, a lot of things are conspiring against us as in challenges but we’ll come through it. There’s a belief and a unity."