KEITH Curle is due to meet Latics owner Abdallah Lemsagam in person for the first time.

The Moroccan businessman, who fans are desperate to see sell the club after over three torrid years at the helm, has not been at Boundary Park since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, after announcing in a rare interview - on a national radio show - earlier this month that he was considering coming back to England from his Dubai base now that travel and quarantine restrictions have started to ease, his return to the club is imminent.

Curle was awaiting confirmation of their first in-person meeting, but said communication with the owner had always been good despite the long distance.

"I've always had open dialogue with the owner. It's difficult, I know, because he's been away but the opportunity to pick the phone up is always there, and you need that. You need those lines of communication,” explained Curle, who was initially appointed on a short-term deal before signing a two-year contract in the summer.

“I have good dialogue with him.

"I had a text from him (on Saturday) wishing me well as I normally do.

"I know he's coming over but I don't think he'd burden me with his travel arrangements on a Thursday or Friday prior to a game.”

And while Curle is looking forward to a first face-to-face meeting, Lemsagam is set for a hostile reception from Oldham supporters following a succession of protests against the club's hierarchy - the biggest on Saturday when around 1,000 fans gathered outside of the main stand ahead of the home game against Hartlepool United.

"It's not how he envisaged it," Curle said. “But it's a case of having your beliefs and your plans.

"It was mentioned a couple of weeks ago in one of the interviews that one of the directors did about the plan. It's a case of identifying what that plan is, how it works, how it materialises and what it means to the Oldham fans.

"Lines of communication are vitally important.

"People may not understand, he (Lemsagam) has put £5million-£6million in over a three-year period, 18 months of that has been Covid and no fans in the ground. It's a difficult situation, so changes have had to be made.

"A lot of people in society don't like change, but sometimes as a business there has to be change because the football club needs to survive.”