DAVID Wheater has opened up on the hardships being experienced by some of Wanderers’ unpaid players and the motivation behind the squad’s controversial strike at the end of last season.

Now four months without wages, the defender admits some savvy financial planning has ensured his own young family have not suffered badly as the club waits for news of a takeover.

Other players, reasons Wheater, will by now be in a more precarious situation having gone without salaries since March.

And he believes the attitude of fans towards the players’ pay issues has altered the longer their wait has dragged on.

“At the start, some of the fans were like ‘you are footballers, you can afford it’ but we’re not at that Premiership level wage now,” he said.

“I’ve played for 14 years professionally and saved well, to be honest, my mum and dad made sure I did. So this last four months haven’t been perfect, but we’ve managed to get by.

“But some of the younger lads and those older ones who haven’t saved their money as well must be on their backside, really. It has been really tough for them.

“Lads still want to play for Bolton Wanderers, it’s a great club. And you see a lot of the former players still stay around here. But it’s so hard when you’re being asked to turn up and just not getting paid.”

The 32-year-old is now a free agent and has spent time training with SPL side Kilmarnock in Marbella looking to earn a contract which could see him play in the Europa League this season.

As club captain, Wheater was heavily involved in the players’ decision to boycott the home game against Brentford in April, which forced the cancellation of a league game for the first time in Wanderers’ history.

The EFL have yet to make a judgement on what, if any, punishment will be handed out to the club for failing to fulfil the fixture, which was eventually awarded to the Bees by a 1-0 scoreline.

Wheater insists the decision was not made lightly by the players – and revealed that manager, Phil Parkinson, did not try to sway the dressing room’s opinion either way.

“We want to play for the fans, we want to entertain them, but not getting paid for four months wouldn’t happen in many other jobs,” he said on the Michaela Wain podcast.

“We love playing. We don’t enjoy the other stuff as much, so not to play was a hard choice, it wasn’t easy.

“The manager didn’t tell us we had to do anything – he trusted us to do what we thought was best and that was what we thought was best at the time. It was two months at that point and nothing has changed. “It is the best thing we could have done to make it known we weren’t happy.”

With a takeover now inching its way towards completion and the first pre-season friendly at York City just six days away, Parkinson looks to have a degree of short-term security on his job.

Though Wheater does not know what his own future holds, or whether he will return to the club where he has spent the last eight-and-a-half years of his career, he is glad to see his manager could continue in a role which has been challenging, to say the least.

“He has the respect of the players,” he said. “The stuff he had to go through last year, I don’t think many other managers would have done that.

“But he loses his job – which manager would want to come and take over?

“I hope that he stays, I know he likes me so maybe there would be something there? Who knows?”