THE FA Cup is often said to be magical, and it seemed as if some sort of magic had been used to elicit the performance Latics put out against Ipswich at the weekend.

A full-strength top-half League One side against one which sits 90th in the English Football League seemed like it was a foregone conclusion from the moments the balls were drawn, but that was far from the case on the afternoon.

Latics have often seemed to play up the higher-class opposition. ‘The magic of the cup’ is one possible explanation, however a far more plausible one is that Keith Curle’s tactics are built in such a way that it works against these better teams but not week-in, week-out in League Two.

Ipswich went ahead early on, but played fluid passing football and allowed Oldham the freedom to do the same through the middle of the park. Gone were the ever-present long balls which were seemingly directed towards nobody in particular, instead they were replaced by a quick-moving game played on the deck.

A similarly strong performance happened at Bradford City where they allowed Curle’s men to play, unleashing the potential of the likes of Davis Keillor-Dunn. Jamie Bowden was a particular highlight for myself on Saturday, breaking up play before releasing the ball to allow attacks to form.

There is no doubt about the fact that the current Latics squad is lightweight, and this leads to technically-gifted players struggling when faced with the challenge of fourth division football where size and strength often takes prominence.

Saturday proved that this team can play well, so what does the head coach need to do in order to replicate said performances in the league – where it matters far more than anywhere else?

The January transfer market is approaching, and League Two standard players must be prioritised. Ouss Cisse was supposed to be the player to fill the gap for a sweeper at the base of midfield, but he suffered injury and a replacement must be brought in if he cannot recover.

Curle also needs to take a long, hard look at how he can get the best out of Dylan Bahamboula. Despite receiving plaudits from some Ipswich fans, he regularly lost the ball and it seems that opponents have cottoned onto his skills and learned that they can be somewhat predictable. Too often taking it too far, perhaps a more measured Moyo is needed?

The Latics boss will have seen positives on Saturday, but already a loss has been recorded in the EFL Trophy. The utmost priority must be finding a methodology which can both reward creative players but also grind out results.