KEITH Curle is posed with a selection headache for the first time this season, and it is a situation he is relishing.

The Latics team has practically picked itself for the first third of the season, such has been the extent of their list of injuries.

But Sam Hart was the latest to mark his comeback from a lengthy absence, against Ipswich Town in the FA Cup replay on Tuesday night, following recent returns for Nicky Adams and Jamie Hopcutt, while Ouss Cisse has been named among the substitutes in the last two games having been sidelined since August.

That has led to competition for places stepping up at Boundary Park, which is a welcome change for Curle.

"It's excellent, I've been waiting for it," he said Curle.

"I think everybody knows we've been battered and bruised and we're at the wrong end of the table of where we want to be but identifying where we are and not liking it doesn't get you away from the foot of the table. There's lot of hard work to be done and we need the right people around us.

"There's more to come, there's a lot more work to be done, but I've got to say the attitude of the players, they're taking on board the information, taking on board the criticism and taking on board the demands upon them and they're not shying away from it, and then that's what gives me the belief that we'll get out of it.

"It's good to have these players back and have these selection dilemmas.

"I'll make decisions in the right manner for the right reasons."

Arguably one of the toughest calls is at left wing back, or left back if the head coach opts to revert to a back four with Hart's return.

Benny Couto has emerged through the young ranks to establish himself in the Latics first team in Hart's absence. And his contribution to the team was recognised with an ovation from the Latics fans.

"Benny's done excellent, and fair play to the lad, he's been learning on the job," said Curle.

"He started his career as a winger and developed in the youth team as a left back, made his debut and been playing as a wing back. There's lot of things that you need to learn about his positional play, his passing route map, effort, commitment, desire, willingness to learn, willingness to develop as an individual, credit to him. He will have a long, bright future."