KEITH Curle is expecting a positive reaction from Hallam Hope, after the Latics boss confirmed he dropped the striker at the weekend.

Hope was among Curle's prime targets during the summer, having worked with the forward at Carlisle United.

Curle revealed he had chased Hope probably "more than I’ve ever chased anyone else through my whole life - ex-wife, ex-partner and current girlfriend included" after securing a deal for the former Everton youngster at Brunton Park in 2017.

Historically, Hope is not quick off the mark. He went six games without a goal at the start of his first season with Carlisle, and nine games before scoring in his third.

But since leaving Sheffield Wednesday for Bury in 2014, this is the longest stretch he has gone without a goal at the start of a campaign - 11 before Saturday's trip to Mansfield Town.

And Curle felt the time was right to take the front man out of the firing line.

"This is in no way disrespectful to Hallam because I've had a couple of good conversations with him, Hallam was not rested, he was dropped," Curle confirmed.

"I don't shy away from the fact that what he has been delivering hasn't been good enough for the standards he sets himself and my expectations of what I want from him.

"But Hallam is a professional and he'll accept it in the right way.

"Some players can accept and take the house brick treatment - solid, straight to the point, doesn't bounce.

"So my message to Hallam was very much a house brick - solid, to the point and it probably hurt but it's knowing the players and I know Hallam can take that. I know Hallam will react to that."

Asked how Hope was different to the player he had at Carlisle, Curle said: "A little bit tentative, a little bit hesitant and a little bit reactive."

But the Latics head coach is confident he can rediscover the form that he knows Hope is capable of.

"Sometimes you need to be taken out of the firing line, regroup and go again. Hallam will go again," he said.