THE gears are slowly grinding once again on the Wanderers juggernaut, and who knows how far they will travel?

Three consecutive wins and three straight clean sheets and it is almost as if September never happened for Phil Parkinson and his relentless band, who seem hell-bent on slogging their way to the top.

Even when the wheels wobbled last month, the defensive structure installed on the manager’s arrival in the summer never really faltered.

And it has been a foundation which has held firm as things went awry at the other end of the pitch in recent weeks.

On Saturday Zach Clough grabbed the headlines for ending his goal drought, which stretched back to April, but those who watched the Whites steam-roll their local rivals will hand equal billing to the less fashionable members of the group.

Jay Spearing is at least one class above League One level but his attitude since taking on the captain’s armband from the injured Darren Pratley has been the truly impressive part of his game.

The former Liverpool man is the heartbeat of the team at the moment and is also bringing the best out of those around him.

Josh Vela has never been more consistent for Wanderers, while Tom Thorpe produced an immaculate first-half after dragging himself off his sick bed on the morning of the game.

Add to that a defensive partnership between David Wheater and Mark Beevers which rarely strays from rock solid and you wonder what would actually happen if Parkinson could get his strikers to fire all at once too.

Clough’s considerable talents have been hidden under the proverbial bushel for the last few months.

Hurdles – both mental and physical – have prevented him from playing with the swagger of the kid who burst on to the scene in the post-Dougie Freedman days.

As he ran away to celebrate a brilliant free kick 10 minutes in, time was turned back.

If Clough can regain form and consistency, then Parkinson and his staff really are cooking on gas.

For all Wanderers' foibles this season they are still ahead of the famous Super Whites who last played at this level in 1992/93.

Bruce Rioch’s team took just 15 points from their opening 13 games, six down on the modern-day ensemble, but their fortunes turned 24 years to the day when a certain John McGinlay registered his first goal for the club to rescue a 2-2 draw at Chester City.

Parkinson’s team have some work to do before they can hold a candle to the Burnden Park boys – but belief and momentum is a strange thing. If this team can get on a roll, we might make heroes out of them yet.

The margin of victory against Oldham should have been wider. Once again, the ruthless edge was missing for long spells and against better sides Wanderers may suffer for that profligacy. Thankfully, the visitors had the same sort of problems.

After Clough had dinked a free kick over the wall for the opening goal, Wheater saw a powerful header pushed aside by Connor Ripley in the Latics goal. Had that gone in, the tensions may have eased somewhat. Instead, the 1-0 scoreline teetered nervously in the Whites’ favour for more than an hour.

Mark Howard did not have his busiest day but kept his concentration to register another clean sheet for his collection.

One fast bit of thinking in the second half to smother a shot at the feet of Paul Green was particularly impressive.

Carl Winchester proved a lively customer for Oldham but everything the midfielder hit from distance landed off target.

Wanderers had the lead but their reluctance to push forward for a second caused a few flutters of frustration among the home crowd. Though comfortable in possession, there was an audible sigh each time the ball was worked from the Oldham half, back to Howard.

When the Whites did have a chance to break through, the final pass went astray – cue the same sights of exasperation.

Patience looked like it had paid off eight minutes before the end of the half when Vela slipped Sammy Ameobi through on goal, but once again a one-on-one ended up in favour of the opposition keeper, who saved with his feet.

To Ameobi’s credit, he soldiered on. The on-loan Newcastle winger was restored to the side in favour of James Henry and though he was guilty of over-playing at times, there were some breath-taking moments of skill too.

Oldham fancied their chances of getting back into the game and got nearer and nearer to an equaliser. Howard’s save from Green tipped the game back in his side’s favour, though, and after Ameobi’s skills had won a corner on the left, Clough capitalised on a madcap scramble in the Oldham box to slam home his second.

The Macron is a happy hunting ground for the youngster, who has scored 12 times in 28 home appearances. Strangely, just three goals have come away from home in 21 attempts.

Wanderers had to batten down the hatches in the last 10 minutes to ensure Oldham did not get any encouragement to get back into the game.

Derik Osede made a welcome return to league action for Thorpe, by then on his chinstrap.

It had not been the prettiest victory, nor as comprehensive as it should have been, but as Carl Boyeson blew the whistle home fans cared not.

Whether the good times are here to stay is still up for debate but while the players down Wanderers’ spine are in this sort of form, it is not unreasonable to think they can keep themselves in the promotion picture.

They are not quite the Super Whites – but they might not need to be "that" good to escape this division.