DELROY FACEY has started only 33 League games in three years since leaving Town.
It's a measure of his peripatetic career, indicating he hasn't been able to establish himself strongly enough at any one of five clubs on loan or permanent employment.
On Saturday, he returned to his first love and, in a blistering first 45 minutes, set up two goals for Pawel Abbott which helped earn Town a third home victory in four matches.
The fact that Oldham hit back through substitute Guy Branston 15 minutes from time and pushed Peter Jackson's side all the way did not detract from the power of Facey's contribution or the excellence of Town's first-half display.
In the air, he was every bit as effective as Andy Booth and, on the deck, he showed some excellent touches of trickery.
Raw pace is something Town have consistently missed, too, but Facey showed it in abundance when setting up Abbott's second of the match and 21st of the season in the 28th minute.
Even though he faded in the second half, the 24-year-old's nuisance value still kept Oldham on edge and he thoroughly deserved the warming applause of the fans at the end.
He proved that home is where the heart is and, if he continues to produce the sort of form he showed before 3.45 on Saturday, then Jackson will be rightly keen to bring him on board.
Facey's partnership with Abbott was Town's fourth different strikeforce in as many games and it took only three minutes to bear fruit.
Oldham were all at sea as Facey rose to win a long clearance and, when Will Haining made a complete hash of his clearance, Abbott took advantage with the most exquisite of chips from just outside the area.
Big Aussie keeper Les Pogliacomi, who was the outstanding performer in Oldham's 2-1 win against Town at Boundary Park in December, could do nothing about it and his defence became even more nervous as a result.
Playing neat, incisive and attractive football, Town carved them open time and again and Facey should have crowned his return on loan with a goal on 16 minutes, but Pogliacomi saved after a slip by Danny Hall.
Chris Brandon and Adnan Ahmed, who were excellent throughout, kept Oldham on the back foot and the build-up to Town's second goal was terrific.
There appeared little danger as grafting skipper Jon Worthington played a short pass to the confident looking Michael Collins near half way, but when Andy Holdsworth sent an accurate pass down the line for Facey, he sold Hall an extravagent dummy and burst down the flank.
It would have been easy to mess up the cross at pace, but Facey played it expertly between defenders to Abbott at the back post and there was no chance for Alex Bruce - the roundly booed son of former club manager Steve - to stop his shot on the line.
Brandon, Ahmed and Collins all had chances to increase the lead before half time and Town also made an encouraging start to the second period, but suddenly Oldham - trying to stave off an eighth successive defeat - found a positive seam of form.
Town contributed to their own problems by not passing and moving anywhere near as well as they had in the first half and, with Oldham getting more than their fair share of possession, they were quick to get the ball forward to Betsy and Chris Killen.
Betsy, in fact, had a great chance to reduce the deficit on 70 minutes when Nathan Clarke missed his only tackle of the match, but he was denied by a brilliant stop from Paul Rachubka, advancing from the line.
The keeper deserved a clean sheet for that but, unfortunately, he was picking the ball out of the net only five minutes later when Town failed to clear a free-kick and Betsy set up substitute Guy Branston at close range to fire into the roof of the net.
With all the back line doing well - Holdsworth returned in fine form - and the midfield grafting solidly, there were plenty of positives for Town to take from the performance.
The biggest of those as they look to the derby against Bradford at Valley Parade, of course, is the victory, allied to the hope that Facey's loan spell can lead to that run of wins which has so far eluded Town in their League I campaign.
Man of the Match: Delroy Facey
PLAYED in the style of Andy Booth with his heading work up front and at the back. Terrific run to set up Abbott's second and while he was quieter second half, he was too strong for Oldham
How they rated:
Paul Rachubka Didn't have an awful lot to do, but his brilliant save to deny Betsy on 70 minutes was absolutely crucial Rating: 7/10
Tom Clarke Covered well at left-back and supplied one cross from which Collins should have scored. Went off with a worrying injury Rating: 7/10
David Mirfin Took no prisoners and, despite a tough second half, was pretty solid along with Clarke in the centre of defence. Rating: 7/10
Nathan Clarke Some excellent tackles and covering when Town became stretched in the second half. Very commanding in the first Rating: 8/10
Andy Holdsworth Strong return to action just a month after a double hernia operation. Went off after taking a nasty bash on the head Rating: 7/10
Chris Brandon Might have had a couple of goals but his overall contribution to Town's best spells of play was tremendous. Rating: 8/10
Adnan Ahmed Looked very confident in midfield and his link up play was terrific. Curled a shot wide from his best opportunity Rating: 8/10
Jon Worthington Two crunching tackles in the fifth minute of time added at the end showed his determination to hold on for a precious win Rating: 7/10
Michael Collins Some of his first-time passing smacked of a maturity boyond his experience. Should have scored a header Rating: 7/10
Pawel Abbott One brilliant finish and one easy one to take his tally for the season to 21 with his first strikes in a month Rating: 7/10
Delroy Facey Powerful return. Forced both goals with his strength and pace and ought to have netted at least one for himself Rating: 9/10
VERDICT ON THE REF: YOU won't find anyone in Oldham ready to buy Eddie Ilderton a pint in a hurry! Their fans gave a standing ovation at one point when he awarded the visitors a free-kick. Linesman Matadar, too, came in for some stick from Oldham caretaker Tony Philliskirk.
The flag, in fact, went up 12 times for offside which, to be fair, said as much about the brainpower of the Oldham frontmen as the ability of Mr Matadar. Overall, the officials did pretty well and Ilderton at least set a new Galpharm record of 10 added minutes in a match!
Oldham Athletic: Pogliacomi, Griffin (Eyres 60), Bonner (Boshell 77), Haining, Stam, Appleby, Killen, Bruce, D Hall (Branston HT), Betsy, Hughes. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Cooper.