Sheffield Wednesday: Owls cash helps keep Dinnington Town alive

Academy manager: Sean McAuley  takes his side to Dinnington Town.
Academy manager: Sean McAuley takes his side to Dinnington Town.

IN THE words of manager Steve Toyne, Dinnington Town “stagger from crisis to crisis”.

But a home encounter with Sheffield Wednesday’s youngsters tonight promises to ease the financial strain on the non-league outfit.

Toyne, who steered Dinnington to a ninth-placed finish in Division One of the Northern Counties East League last term, is hoping for a bumper crowd for their annual pre-season friendly with Sean McAuley’s side.

Rotherham United also travel to Dinnington, on Friday, July 27, and Toyne is relishing the task of pitting his wits against two league clubs. The two friendlies could be worth nearly £1,500 to the club.

“I can’t thank Sean McAuley (Owls academy manager) and Steve Evans (Millers boss) enough for sending teams over,” Toyne told the Star. “I don’t think they realise how vital these games are for us. They are life-savers to Dinnington Town Football Club.

“We are really grateful to Sean for bringing a team here every year. They are a good, enthusiastic footballing team. We always have very competitive, entertaining games with them and we are looking forward to it.

“We are desperate for money. We have not got a wealthy sugar daddy. We are hanging on by a shoestring. It is absolutely vital the fans turn up tonight.”

Injuries have robbed Dinnington of several key players for the visit of the Owls, including ex-Wednesday trainee Luke Hands. The goalkeeper is ruled out with a knee ligament problem. Attacking Town midfielder Dachi Kutsishvili, who has represented Georgia at all youth levels, is currently on trial at Chesterfield.

Toyne said: “We are no mugs. Hopefully this is an eye-opener for the young Owls lads. It is games like these which bring them down to earth. If you don’t make it, this is where you end up playing.”

Tickets are £4 adults and £2 juniors and OAPs.

DID YOU KNOW: Former Owls defender Ashley Westwood is on the verge of becoming Portsmouth’s new first-team coach. He signed a one-year deal with Lincoln City only in May.