KEITH Curle believes Oldham Athletic are laying a platform to build on, with today's goalless draw at Mansfield Town their third clean sheet in four games.

Latics were denied the win that would have seen them leapfrog the Stags and get out of the bottom two by the woodwork, when Harrison McGahey saw a close-range effort bounce off the crossbar just before half-time.

There were chances for both teams, with Latics goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler called on to make some good second half saves.

But Curle said leaving Field Mill disappointed not to have picked up more than a point was a good sign for his team in their quest to climb up the table.

"A third clean sheet out of four shows that we're trying to build a foundation whereby we are difficult to beat," said the Latics head coach.

"Clean sheets were at a premium last season, that's got to be part of our foundation that we go into games looking not to concede and being difficult to beat knowing that we've got creative players on the pitch."

Zak Dearnley returned to the starting line-up as one of three changes following last Saturday's defeat at home to Harrogate Town and was unlucky not to have his efforts rewarded with a goal.

"I think the pleasing thing from Dearns is a little bit of composure, moving the ball, quick feet, getting his strike off, you're thinking 'excellent, that's the Dearnley that we need to be seeing on a regular basis'," Curle continued.

"It's taken us a little bit of time building up his fitness and building up his confidence, building up the ability to be robust whereby he's disappointed coming off after 85 minutes and it shows the extra work that he's been doing that we've been doing with him is paying dividends."

The game was delayed by over 12 minutes in the first half following an injury Mansfield midfielder George Maris, who left the field on a stretcher following a collision with his own team-mate, James Clarke, in the middle of the park.

"I think it wass a collision between two of their players. Davis (Keillor-Dunn) has tried to get in front of their lad, as he's rolled him the other lad has propelled himself into him. Our physio went on with their physio and he's quite confident that it's a head injury and neck injury that isn't too dangerous," Curle explained.

Mansfield had been building momentum but the lengthy stoppage played into Latics' hands.

"With the quality Mansfield have got you know they are going to put you under pressure and the first 15-20 minutes was no surprise to us adjusting to working and becoming familiar and not panicking because of their system where they play a lot of balls in midfield and not get dismantled," Curle added.

"We were able to settle and get good information on.

"I thought we dominated and had the better chances at the end of the first half. Second half I thought was quite even."