DAVE Diaper has no problem with Sholing being touted as favourites for the Sydenhams Premier title.

But he was swift to point out that the Boatmen won’t be throwing money around like confetti after landing a £100,000 super grant from FA sponsors Budweiser in May.

Sholing couldn’t splash the cash on players even if they wanted to because the grant must be used purely for upgrading their Universal Stadium home.

“We haven’t actually got the money. We don’t receive anything physically,” stressed Boatmen’s chief Diaper.

“The cheque is paid to the FA and the money can only be spent on ground improvements - no other way.

“We’re in discussions at the moment and we’ve got two or three options of how the money will go towards the redevelopment of Sholing FC, but no way does it touch our bank account at all.

“I’ve had friends telling me Sholing will do well this season because we’ve got a good budget, but it doesn’t work like that.

“The grant is for ground improvements and ground improvements only – and that’s the way it should be.”

After 18 years managing Sholing, Diaper deserves the occasional break in the sun.

So he doesn’t feel too guilty about not being around for tomorrow's (Friday, 7.45pm) big FA Cup extra preliminary round clash at home to Wessex rivals Alresford Town – even though he suspects he will be missing a cracker.

With Sholing finishing third in last season’s Sydenhams Premier table and Alresford fifth, it is bound to be an intriguing game, albeit that it means the Wessex losing one of their better clubs while the competition is still in its infancy.

“It should be well worth watching for the neutral with both teams hell-bent on winning,” said Diaper.

“Rich (Luffman, manager) gets Alresford fired up and I’d imagine there will be some competitive banter between the two dugouts!

“It’s a shame to miss it, but I know that if I go away for a weekend I’ve got good people around to take care of things.

“Marc Diaper (Dave’s son) is my assistant, plus we’ve got Iain Calder coming up as first-team coach and (experienced centre-back) Pete Castle is now part of the backroom staff.”

Both teams go into the Universal Stadium showdown in good heart having enjoyed league victories on Tuesday.

Sholing won 2-0 at Cowes Sports courtesy of Lee Wort and summer strike signing Connor Kelly, while a late Dave Parry strike banked all three points for Alresford at AFC Portchester.

A delighted Luffman tweeted after the Magpies' 1-0 triumph: “Great win tonight against a top, top team in @AFCPortchester. Good side that will do very well. Over the moon. On to Friday.”

Tomorrow's winners will host either Thatcham Town or Petersfield Town.