Hucknall Town are refusing to cave into excessive financial demands as they struggle to bring in a new striker.
The Central Midlands League South title-chasing Yellows, who were stung by two postponements in five days this week, are desperate to add to their firepower.
But manager Andy Graves said: “I am just banging my head against a brick wall in trying to bring a striker in.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous what money players want.
“What they are telling me they are being paid by clubs they are already at - and I’m not going to mention figures - it’s certainly nothing we could get near.
“We have to be realistic. People say we are the moneybags, but I would say of the four clubs in line for promotion we are probably bottom of the pecking order with regard to finances.
“There are always rumours. Everyone thinks we must be rolling in it as we are having a new ground built.
“But that’s got nothing to do with us. That is happening because we kept the club in existence basically.
“I will tell people if they want to know the facts.
“What we are being asked for a striker is unrealistic. It’s got to be right for us.” Graves said it was vital the club stuck to its financial recovery plan as they try to make their way back up to the heights they fell from.
“We can’t change the way we set out four years ago to get the club stable. We have to keep to that,” he said.
“Of course we want promotion. But even that is going to come at a big price. If we go up a level and we have these players wanting what they want at out level, what will they want at the next level.
“We’ve said all along the club will progress at the speed it can financially. We’re not going to take short cuts.
“We’ve been down that road before and seen it happen at other clubs far higher than us. It’s got to be managed properly.
“The chairman and committee have done an absolutely fantastic job and, to be fair, the football’s isn’t that bad.
“The club will progress as quickly as we can but we can’t take short cuts for a quick fix.
“People may read that and say it’s negative and I’m making excuses. No – it’s just reality.”
Nevertheless, the search for a striker will continue.
“I thought we were going to get one last week but the lad said he wanted to stay at the club he is at as he has quite strong ties there,” said Graves.
“His wasn’t a monetary thing. It was just that he’d been at the club for about 10 years.
“It was all about loyalty, which you don’t see much of in football, though I have to say most of my squad have been loyal as we’ve not made many changes in the four years I’ve been here.”
Hucknall’s big home six-pointer with Pinxton on Saturday fell victim to the weather, as did Wednesday’s trip to South Normanton which will leave the Yellows without a game for almost three weeks.
In the meantime, Sherwood beat Aslockton & Orston 3-2 to replace Hucknall at the top.
Graves said: “We’ve had a few kicks in the teeth with two postponements, Michael Bannister breaking his leg in three places and Sam Hawkins doing his cruciate, we’ve been hit – both in midfield as well.
“We have a couple of players internally that we hope will step up to fill those places.
“On Saturday we are all training and halfway through the session I will pull five of the lads out to play for the reserves that afternoon.
“But we don’t want to take unnecessary risks as our squad isn’t the biggest.”
Hucknall’s next game will be at bottom club Teversal a week on Saturday.
“It will be two and half weeks between games. They are in a lowly position but, as I keep saying, they’re not going to be easy when you go to these places.
“It’s going to be interesting when Sherwood and Eastwood go on their travels, having used most of their home games up already. There is a long, long way to go yet.”