GARY O’Neil is open to a return to Wanderers, if they ever manage to solve their ownership issues.

The experienced midfielder, last season’s player of the year, trained with the squad last month but could not be guaranteed a deal by the club’s administrators.

The Bolton boss had recommended that O’Neil be retained to help guide the younger players in the squad but as several takeover deadlines came and went, he moved back to the capital to keep fit with QPR.

“The problem you have is that most people say no when they see you are 36,” O’Neil told TalkSport.

“You are then waiting for them to not get the player they want or for someone to get injured, or not to go to plan and they’ll say ‘ah well, we’ll have Gary’.

“I definitely can play at Championship level but I don’t think I will now. If I was going to it would have happened earlier in the summer.

“I have never played lower. The first thing I said to my agent is that I’d had a good year, won player of the year at Bolton, played 32 games, let’s see if I can stay in the Championship.

“That hasn’t happened yet so I might have to look around a bit.

“I want to stay in the league, obviously, but I would play for anyone to stay playing. Location is a consideration and I’d rather stay down south because that’s where I’m based. But Bolton helped me make it work last year, the gaffer really looked after me.

“It was a tough year for us as a group but they way they looked after me, I played more football than I had the year before, I could definitely do it again.”

O’Neil made his professional debut for Portsmouth on January 29, 2000, in a 3-0 victory against Barnsley.

He was put on for the last minute of the game – won by a Steve Claridge hat-trick – to replace midfielder Paolo Vernazza.

The following season he started just three times in league and cup as a 17-year-old before Graham Rix started him for the final five games.

Reflecting on Wanderers’ decision to postpone their League One game against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night, O’Neil said he could sympathise with the decision.

“I think I would have been fine dealing with it – but I am not sure what it would have been like if it was the whole team that were under-18 and you were taking a tonking.

“The main thing is the physical well-being, they are nowhere near developed enough to play League One football.

“I think it’s hard to know (whether they made the right decision) without being there. But I don’t think the gaffer would have called it off lightly, so they must be in a bad way. They would have tried to get through the game if they could.

“I think the players will be fine, as long as they don’t have to keep doing it for too long.

“As you saw in the first game they thought ‘this is fun, we get a go in the first team’ then they got a point, then it starts to set in.

“The easiest game I ever played was my debut because you are on adrenaline. Then they get progressively harder because there’s some expectation, you get fatigued, you can’t keep relying on that adrenaline all the time. They are going to need some help soon, definitely.”

As one of the most experienced players in the squad, O’Neil was an important voice in the Wanderers dressing room last season during troubled times. But he admitted that players struggled to make sense of what they were being told about the sale of the club.

“It’s so difficult to know what’s going on. We honestly don’t know,” he said.

“Since February we have been told that a takeover is imminent so many times. Whenever anyone talks to me about it now I don’t know whether they are telling the truth, whether they know anything, telling me something they actually believe but it doesn’t materialise.

“I just don’t understand how it could have taken this long, it must be such a complex deal.”