LATICS boss Harry Kewell has confirmed David Wheater is still exiled from his first-team squad.

Last season’s Boundary Park captain has not been available to the head coach this season after a dispute with the club over proposed pay cuts last summer brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The club initially issued a statement last September announcing both central defender Wheater and goalkeeper Gary Woods, now on loan at Aberdeen, would not be considered for selection.

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

A second announcement from the club in November - after a campaign from fans’ group Push The Boundary to ‘Free Wheatz’ - outlined how the former Bolton and Middlesbrough man had in fact injured himself lifting his dog and said  “all legal matters associated with those players in dispute at Oldham Athletic are resolved, including with David Wheater.”

However, with Kewell now looking to strengthen his squad with two or three new faces in the January transfer window, the Australian confirmed to The Oldham Times that Wheater’s situation remains unchanged entering the second half of the season.

“As far as I’m aware with David Wheater it’s in the hands of the club,” he said.

“I’m working with my squad and the club are dealing with David Wheater.

“I take the instructions off the club.”

Asked whether the 33-year-old could leave the club in the January transfer window, Kewell added: “That’s something between David Wheater and the club.”

Wheater joined Latics in August 2019 with his 35 appearances in his first season at the club enough to trigger another year at Boundary Park. 

He is out of contract at the end of the season.