EXPERIENCE against proven top-flight teams certainly doesn’t lack in Oldham Athletic’s squad.

Defender David Wheater and midfielder David Jones have extensive Premier League experience with Middlesbrough and Derby respectively, while Chris McCann helped Wigan defeat Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter final five seasons ago.

The above trio may have passed their best days, but Town manager Richie Wellens underlined the proven qualities that ‘wildcard’ free agents can offer after 35-year-old Jones was picked up on a free just a fortnight ago.

Town boss Wellens knows all too well about the importance of free agents. Proven first team player Dion Donohue – who is now expected to renew his SN1 deal on January 2 following a contractual hiccup – is one example of how Swindon have benefitted from the market.

Wellens said: “It’s always difficult because the majority of free agents aren’t very fit – it takes a couple of weeks to get their fitness levels up to scratch.

“But Oldham have decided to take some action by getting better players in, and they’ve taken a punt on David (Jones).

“They’ve got stacks of experience – players that are passed 30 years of age. But they also have a few lads in their early 20s, so there is a mixture.

“Oldham should be doing a lot better than where they are at this stage of the season.”

One advantage Wellens has ahead of the upcoming January transfer window is his ability to sell the club to players of interest.

The 39-year-old admitted his struggle to attract a certain calibre of player last year amid Town’s underwhelming campaign that concluded with a mid-table finish.

Now sitting top of the division and playing an attractive style of football in front of improved crowds, Wellens insists players are more likely to link up with his team this time around.

He added: “It’s a lot more difficult to be caught than it is to try and catch teams.

“I prefer to be out in front. For the players, it gives them that extra bit of confidence.

“Last year, I asked hundreds of players to join the club – but they didn’t fancy dropping into League Two and sitting mid-table.

“It’s a different proposition when you tell a player they can play for a team at the top of League Two in a good stadium in front of a good crowd.”