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Folkestone Invicta continue FA Cup bid with tough trip to Slough

By Alex Hoad

Boss Neil Cugley insists Invicta will be fully focused when they head to Slough for one of the biggest games in the club’s history on Saturday.

After a frustrating defeat in Bostik Premier last Saturday, which saw Cugley sent to the stands, the FA Cup fourth qualifying round tie against a side flying high in the Southern League, Premier Division gives Folkestone the chance to add another £12,500 in prize money to the £15,000 they earned by winning in the previous three rounds.

Invicta boss Neil Cugley Picture Gary Browne

Invicta boss Neil Cugley Picture: Gary Browne

Invicta’s only previous appearance in the first round proper came 12 years ago when they lost 2-1 at then Football League Chester.

Cugley said: “It would be nice to get back into the first round again but it’s hard to get there, not many teams get to do it.

“To get through the rounds you need a bit of luck with the draws and you need to be able to beat good sides like Slough.

“We’ll be fully focused on what we have to do. We will know a lot about them and hopefully they will have been watching us the past couple of games – we have not been at our best.”

Invicta saw a nine-match winning streak ended by back-to-back Bostik Premier defeats at Merstham (2-0) and Met Police (3-1) on Saturday, when Cugley was sent to the stands and saw six players booked for the first time since that FA Cup game at Chester in 2005.

Cugley said: “I have hardly ever been sent off but I have to say in more than 30 years of management it was one of the poorest refereeing displays I have seen.

“It probably did have a bearing on the outcome, to be honest. I still don’t know what the penalty for their second goal was for. You could argue we might have gone on to get a winner – I expect we would have got at least a draw. It was frustrating.

“I should have been sent off, I left my technical area but it was in reaction to a poor tackle on Micheal Everitt.

“For him to get the same punishment as the guy that fouled him – a yellow card – was madness.”

The game came at a cost as Josh Vincent picked up his fifth booking of the season which rules him out of the Slough game, with Cugley adding: “It was harsh and I feel for him.”

Callum Davies and Ade Yusuff will, however, be available on Saturday. Both were on four bookings ahead of the Met Police game but a family wedding made Davies unavailable and Yusuff rested a tight hamstring.

Cugley hopes to have a defender in before the game as loanee Finn O’Mara has forced his way into the Gills first team since his recall to Priestfield.

Cugley said: “We had a board meeting and we realise that carrying 14 senior players when you’re in five competitions is not enough, we’re looking to strengthen the squad.

“On Saturday we had two 16-year-olds and a 17-year-old on the bench. They’ll be good players but at this level it’s not ideal.

“All it takes is a couple of injuries or suspensions at the same time and then even you could pick the team.”

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