FORMER Latics captain David Wheater says he does not blame supporters for taking action against the club's ownership, but fears it will fall on deaf ears.

Since being able to return to football this season, Oldham fans have made their feelings known towards owner Abdallah Lemsagam, who has overseen a decline of the club during his four-year involvement.

There have been a succession of pitch invasions and protests, with some resulting in home games being interrupted, as fans hammer home the message that they want Lemsagam to sell up and leave.

And Wheater, who had his own fall-out with the club last season resulting in him being released last March, said he would be "on the pitch with them" if he was back at Boundary Park.

But while he applauds their efforts to instigate change, he believes it will make little different to Lemsagam's defiant stance.

Asked if he felt the fans' protests would have any influence, he said defiantly: "No."

However, after Wheater's time with the club ended acrimoniously, frozen out of the first team and subsequent mental health problems which he says required medication, he fully appreciates why Latics fans are making a stand, and supports them.

"I'd be on the pitch with them if I was there, just from what happened to me in a season" said the 34-year-old, who signed for Latics on a free transfer in the summer of 2019 after eight years with Bolton Wanderers.

"They are fans of the club so they've had longer than me there.

"I was on talkSPORT with Simon Jordan. I said 'what do you want them to do?' They're getting exposure and it's worked.

"It was the same thing with us when we went on strike that time (with Bolton in 2019 over unpaid wages).

"No-one was bothered before apart from the local (media). When you go on strike it got national exposure."

Wheater has not played football or found another club since his release from Latics in March.

But, speaking on The Buff podcast of The Oldham Times' sister paper, The Bolton News, he revealed he is making plans for a New Year comeback, following surgery to cure a long-standing back problem which affected him in his final season at Boundary Park.

"I've got a little niggly back injury that I want sorting out because I want to play a few more years. I want this little disc problem sorting out, so I think January time I'll be ready," he explained.

"I've not really been looking (for a club), I've just been enjoying time at home with my family.

"After last year which was a nightmare really with everything going on, I've just been enjoying being at home, back in Middlesbrough with the family.

"I just need this little back problem sorting out, which I didn't get by lifting a dog, despite what statements came out.

"I did it (initially) at Leeds away when I slipped my disc and I've been playing for about eight years taking painkillers every day.

"I've always been offered the operation but I tried not to miss any time playing football.

"It is only like three or four months I'd be out so I want to get it done now and be back for January playing football again."

There has been speculation of a move to National League North side Darlington.

"Darlington would be perfect," said Wheater.

"It's not for the money any more, I just want to be happy playing football. I know the manager (Alun Armstrong), I was at Doncaster with him on loan.

"It's 20 minutes down the road, I'd be playing football and that's all I want to do really."