Shake up for Folkestone
Shake up for Folkestone

Like so many other managers around the non-league game who are all looking to improve their squads after a dozen or so games since the start of the season, Invicta’s Neil Cugley faces a busy time as he looks around to see what players he can bring into the club who will be better than those he already has.

And in most clubs’ circumstances that means one or two leaving which is not the easiest thing to deal with. “But that’s all part of this job” said Neil, after his side’s second 4-1 drubbing in four days at Kingstonian on Saturday.

“I thought they were good enough otherwise I’d never have signed them, but, when you think about it, has anyone one of ours played as well as they did last season?

“Kieron (McCann) started of with four goals in three games, but then he’s had a chest infection and hasn’t played anything like as well as that, Ade (Yusuff) is struggling to get going after a couple of injuries but hasn’t given us anything like the kind of energy that he did last season.”

Those two – signed during the summer of  2017 – are hardly likely to be among the players leaving The Fullicks Stadium following their tremendous contributions to last season when Folkestone finished fifth in the table and reached the Kent Cup final but everyone is under the spotlight as the club seeks to make changes.

“It’s going to be a busy old week” said Cugs. “I was busy enough last week, phoning around to find out who might be available and we could bring up to four players in. But with our location down here on the coast and the current traffic problems on the Motorways, it’s always going to be difficult getting these things ‘over the line.”

Every department of the team is being looked at said Neil.

“I don’t want to make excuses, but last season we had Heardy (midfielder Scott Heard) who was flying until he got injured, and we’ve had injuries this time too” he said.

“Sam Hasler has been unwell and is only just looking likely to get going again, but these things happen and you have to deal with them.”

Looking back on the last two games, Cugs said: “If we’d got the first goal in either game it might have been a different story, but when you don’t score first you’re always chasing the game, and let’s be honest, both Hornchurch and Kingstonian are strong, experienced sides who I expect to be well placed come the end of this season.

“It’s up to us to try to get to their level, or as close to it as we can, if we’re going to make the play-offs again.”

Eight goals conceded in these last two games have not helped the side’s confidence and defence is obviously one area of the team that needs strengthening – “We’ve conceded too many times from set-pieces” admitted the manager.

“I’m talking to people again in these next two days and would like something tied up as soon as possible.”

Folkestone are next in action at home this weekend when big-spending Dorking Wanderers are their visitors while the date has now been set for their second round Velocity (League) Cup tie against Sittingbourne, which will now take place on Tuesday, October 30th.

Next Tuesday also sees Invicta facing their longest trip and what undoubtedly is one of their toughest games of the season with the re-arranged Bostik Premier Division visit to Bognor Regis Town.

“They’re flying at the moment” said Cugley, “and they, of course, are one of the many sides who’ve played at higher levels. Even with a settled side, this would have been a very tough spell with the way that the fixtures have fallen.

“Last season was all about the top two (Billericay and Dulwich Hamlet, but this time you can look at half a dozen clubs to say they’ve got a chance, Hornchurch and Kingstonian among them.

“That’s where we want to be, of course, and it’s what we’ll be working for.”