KEITH Curle has backed Jack Stobbs to be an attacking asset for Latics, after getting off to a false start in his Boundary Park career.

The winger signed on a free transfer in the summer and went straight into Oldham's starting XI, only to be curtailed by injury.

Stobbs has been sidelined for over a month after having to be withdrawn at half-time of the defeat at Bristol Rovers in mid-August.

The former Sheffield Wednesday wide man made his comeback in the Papa John's Trophy tie with Leeds United Under 21s and had an impact with a number of inviting crosses in the first half.

Zak Dearnley and Vani Da Silva started up front for Latics against the Premier League club's young guns, but were unable to capitalise on their team-mate's deliveries.

But Curle described Stobbs' return to action is a huge plus going forward.

"Very much so," said the head coach.

"Jack's been knocking at my door, desperate to play, desperate to get game time now.

"He finished his field based rehabilitation on Monday by doing all the sprint distances and all the field distances that we needed him to do, and he wanted to play.

"The decision was do you start him or would you bring him on when the game peters out a little bit? I thought it was the right decision to start him.

"He put in four great crosses, and you're thinking if you're a centre forward you've got to get on the end of them."

Curle added: "It's learning for Vani because he's not a natural centre forward but he's a forward player that's got great pace, he's got to learn how to use it, and then he's got to understand how to build credit up during a game.

"Zak you can tell he's a yard away from where he needs to be, but he knows it. You highlight it to him and say 'those balls that are coming in, they're the ones that you need to be on the end of'."

Dearnley did get on the scoresheet for Latics in the second half of Tuesday night's 3-2 defeat to Leeds' youngsters, and Curle added: "That's the beauty of a centre forward, he gets an opportunity to score and he tucks it away, but we need to earn those opportunities and we need to work harder."