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Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley hoping to keep his squad together

By Steve Tervet

Neil Cugley is confident he can keep his Folkestone squad together and have another crack at the play-offs.

Invicta finished fourth in Bostik Premier this season but crashed out to Hendon in the semi-finals.

Boss Cugley knows expectation levels have been raised and believes Invicta can reach similar levels in 2018/19.

Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Andy Payton
Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Andy Payton

He's already got Ade Yusuff, Johan ter Horst, Callum Davies and Tim Roberts signed up and talks with their team-mates are ongoing.

Cugley's playing budget has been increased by 15% which will allow him to offer those players a pay rise

"We're not the richest club," he said. "We're not going out to bring in loads of players so hopefully most of them want to stay and be part of what we've achieved.

"It's a bit manic. I'm on the phone a lot and I've got to talk to the players and get them tidied up. Hopefully they all stay.

"Nobody's said 'no' yet so that's nice. We know we've got to pay a little bit more but we're in a situation where we can't go mad either. Hopefully they want to stay and we'll give them a little bit more and everybody's happy.

"If they don't stay, we can use that money to bring in somebody else.

"Until you get somebody who's going to put a lot of money into our club, that's how we'll do it."

Interest in some of Cugley's players was inevitable given how well they did this season.

He said: "There are teams that have asked but I think most of them are quite happy where they are.

"We try to look after them and we've got a nice pitch so that can mean a lot.

"We've got excellent team spirit and unless it's really worth it financially to go somewhere else, most of them are quite content.

"It's a loyalty thing as well at Folkestone. We try to be loyal to the players.

"They've done us proud, played well and been good people. I'd like to give them the first option of staying.

"If they don't, fair enough and then we'll look elsewhere."

Going under the radar won't be an option for Invicta next season after they scored 104 league goals in 2017/18.

"That's not a bad thing," Cugley said. "That's how we did it in the Ryman South; fourth, fifth, second, gone up a league and this year got in the play-offs.

"We'll have to try to get in the play-offs again, won't we?"

Folkestone have already arranged four pre-season friendlies at the Fullicks Stadium.

They'll host Gillingham on July 6, Maidstone on July 9, Dover on July 14 and Dartford on July 28.

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