Lucas Neill is expected to announce his future as a club footballer within weeks following Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou's warning the Australian skipper would be ruled out of the World Cup campaign if he wasn't playing by March.

Neill, who has captained Australia on a record 61 occasions, told Fairfax Media before he left for Japan on Sunday that he and his manager, Paddy Dominguez, were in “discussions”. However, he could not elaborate further because he is contracted to J League club Omiya Ardija until the end of December.

“Talks are ongoing,” Neill said during his Christmas visit to the Sydney Children's Hospital at Randwick. “Our club is in a difficult situation as they've just sacked the coach and the board so there's no decision-maker there to make a decision.

“It's all about timing and, obviously, if need be, plan B is to explore other options.”

Neill endorsed Postecoglou's declaration to only call upon active players in the lead-up to next year's World Cup after Australia drew powerhouses Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B. While Postecoglou said he was, at least for the time being, unconcerned by Neill's status – described in the media over the weekend as “clubless” – he insisted form and fitness would remain the criteria for selection in his team.

“I think any player with the ambition to go to the World Cup needs to be saying, 'I need to be playing; I need to be playing regularly and I need to be playing well to bring form in against three of the best teams in the world',” Neill said. “And that's the attitude every player who considers themselves available for selection needs to have.”

After a tough few months in which there were calls by critics for Neill to be axed after two heavy losses to France and Brazil, and the criticism he copped for reacting to constant heckling by a small group of Australian supporters throughout the recent friendly against Costa Rica in Sydney, Neill received what he called a “reality check” when, in his role as an ambassador for the Sydney Children's Hospital, helped promote the Little Lights for Little Lives fund-raising campaign.

Weighed down by swags of toys and wearing a Santa's hat, Neill described it as “humbling” to talk to children and their parents fighting far greater battles than he had ever faced.

“It's irrelevant,” he said when asked to compare dramas. “Seeing these kids and their families is why I will never take for granted how lucky I have been.

“You meet kids who'll spend Christmas in hospital. Some of these kids can't even breathe on their own and then some ... some don't even know if they're going to still be on this earth ...

“It's the strength and the ability of the doctors and nurses here that give them hope. When people like me come along ... I'm a firm believer that positive things happen to positive people and in here the mantra is to create that positive atmosphere because positivity breeds healing and smiles.

“Smiles are the best things for sick kids and to see kids who are in so much pain and suffering crack a smile, it's special. I always feel for the parents. I think they need support and I hope a visit from people like myself gives them the strength and belief that people do care for what they're going through.”