David Wheater remains unavailable for selection until his issues with the Oldham hierarchy are resolved, Harry Kewell has confirmed.

Latics and their captain of last season are at odds over proposed pay cuts in the summer brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The club issued a statement last month saying that both Wheater and Gary Woods – who has since been loaned to Aberdeen - would not be part of the first-team squad going forwards.

It led to the players’ representatives accusing Latics of putting undue pressure on the players to break their contracts.

While Woods has moved on Wheater remains at the club and is training with the youth team.

When asked for an update on the former Bolton and Middlesbrough man's status, Kewell initially pointed to some injury issues the defender has had in recent weeks before conceding that even if fit, he could still not be selected.

He said: “He came back from the long break at the start of the pre-season and unfortunately he got coronavirus and had to self-isolate for a couple of weeks.

“He was slowly coming back into it, getting his fitness back up and then he’s been out again, he got knocked-out in a game.

“He had to have two weeks out again, not doing anything.

“There’s another week period where he’s got to be slowly introduced because we’ve got to be careful with that.

“So as for Wheats he hasn’t really been involved that much and it might be another three or four weeks of training before he’s match fit.

“He’s had a little bit of unluckiness but that’s football and we’ve just got to deal with that.”

Quizzed on if that meant Wheater could soon be available and if the situation had changed since the statement was released on September 21, Kewell clarified: “He’s a fantastic pro, he’s had a fantastic career and the club has never closed the door.  

“There are issues that have to be sorted out first and foremost and once they are sorted out I think it’s only fair to anyone that they can (return).

“I have a team to manage and this is something that was here before me and they have to deal with it.

“He’s been away for a long time so it’s very hard.

“As a manager you try and speak to a lot of people and I get on well with David, you can ask him, but I have to concentrate on my squad.”