CHESTER City have been forced to put their move for Tony Dinning on hold because they are too close to their salary-cap limit.
The Blues are eager to sign Dinning, 32, on a 12-month deal but must ship other players out before any more can be brought in.
The news comes as a blow to Bobby Williamson as Dinning, who can play in either defence or midfield, would have been an ideal replacement for the suspended Paul Linwood at Bury tomorrow.
The Chester manager said: ‘The situation is that we’re still very, very close to the salary cap and we can’t do anything at this moment in time.
‘But Tony’s here, he’s training with us and he’s certainly impressed me. He is one we would like to attain but it’s all down to finances and the chairman can’t do any more than what he’s done.
‘He’s certainly provided the cash for us to get the squad together, but with the salary cap you can only spend so much money and the gates we’re getting right now don’t justify bringing in another player.’
Dinning – a free agent following his release by Stockport County – played for Chester’s reserves on Wednesday but space must be cleared on City’s payroll before he can become a registered member of the squad.
It is not the first time the Blues have experienced problems with the Football League’s strict salary cap rules, which were put in place to ensure clubs do not spend beyond their means. They were denied permission to sign Ricky Ravenhill from Doncaster last year because of wage cap issues and have had to offload several players on loan this season to compensate for the arrival of a host of summer signings.
Williamson is continuing to address the problem.
He added: ‘We just need to keep working away at this end and if we can move one or two out, maybe on a loan basis, it will enable us to bring in Tony.’
Meanwhile, talks are ongoing between Blues officials and the club’s potential new investors, headed by Alicante-based businessman Richard Downes.
The two parties met face-to-face for the first time last Friday and club chief executive Alan Middleton is currently carrying out a series of detailed checks into the background of those involved in the proposed takeover.
Mr Middleton said: ‘I have started the process of due diligence and investigations into the credentials of the company and individuals involved.
‘These deals always take time and are a two-way process, so the checks and searches must be detailed and thorough.’