ANDY Ritchie feels Latics will have no shortage of applicants for the vacant head coach position, despite the club's struggles on and off the field.

Keith Curle's exit in the aftermath of a midweek defeat at Northampton Town leaves owner Abdallah Lemsagam making his 10th managerial appointment in four years.

Academy manager Selim Benachour takes interim charge of the first team ahead of tomorrow's derby at Salford City, and is the current bookmakers' favourite to remain in the role longer term.

But Ritchie believes Lemsagam will be spoilt for choice and anticipates there will be plenty of interest in becoming Curle's successor.

"It's going to be difficult, but I don't think there will be any real danger of nobody wanting the job even though it's a precarious one," said the Latics legend, who while disappointed to see Curle lose his job admitted the news did not come as a surprise.

"History repeats itself and he (Lemsagam) is not going to change now. He wants things yesterday but if you want things yesterday maybe you have to give things today," he continued.

"It's sad because I don't like managers being relieved from their job or thinking that they should go because I've been there myself. It's not great. But we're all in the business of getting results and results haven't been great for quite some time.

"It wasn't a shock because I think he was their ninth appointment (in four years).

"It's sad the way the club is as well at the moment. I hate to see them where they are.

"They need somebody that's going to come in and get a spark and that usually does happen when a new person comes in.

"He will need to get them going.

"I saw the goals when they managed to win at home last weekend and they looked as though they were all behind Keith, especially when the third goal went in they all ran over to him, so that looked as though they had a bit of an affinity with him.

"Selim will know the players of course, he will have watched the games, but he's got to now really think on his feet, get the players up again because it looked as though they were onside with Keith by the reactions last weekend so many of them might be disappointed that he's left the club.

"They need to get somebody in that's going to steady the ship and turn them around pretty quickly."

With Latics just a place and two points above the relegation zone going into tomorrow's trip to the Peninsula Stadium, Ritchie says Latics cannot afford to take too much time over their next appointment.

"Time is of the essence, it's near the new year and then you're rushing towards the end of the season and get points on the board and get away from that danger zone," said Ritchie, who ruled himself out of the running of a return to his old club.

"Not at all. Definitely not. I've had my fill of that.

"I wish anyone who comes in all the very best with it because it pains me to see them where they are.

"I want them to go forward and get back into League One at least."

But Ritchie says the first priority is making the team hard to beat.

"I think whoever comes in needs to just go back to basics and not try to maybe play an expansive game," he added.

"You've got to try to make yourself difficult to beat and if that for the time being means that you're not maybe the best team to watch for supporters, which is always what you want to do - you want to try to play good football, but sometimes you have to make yourselves tough to beat, get a system that works best for you and if we can get wins or draws from maybe not playing as expansive as other people want us to, you can then make a base to push on from that. But it's difficult.

"You're going to have to get a system that suits your players, it's not you trying to get the players to play your system, you have to realise the capabilities of your squad and play a system that is easy and good and a system that they know and understand and know all their jobs."

Ritchie added: "Whoever comes in has got to make them difficult to beat.

"If you make yourself hard to beat with the situation you're in and the lack of funds to change things but you make yourself had to beat you've got to stick to that and you've got to do that to survive because they're in a really precarious position.

"If they went out of the league they would be the first team of the original Premier League that have done that and I don't think anybody at the football club wants that on their CV."