Published: 07:11, 01 June 2022
| Updated: 07:13, 01 June 2022
Neil Cugley feels striker David Smith would benefit from another season at Folkestone.
Smith is attracting interest at higher levels after scoring 35 league and cup goals for Isthmian Premier Invicta this season.
The 23-year-old has been offered new terms at Cheriton Road and it’s down to the player to decide where his future lies.
“I’d like to see him at Folkestone next season but I also understand if he’s got a chance of full-time football, he might want to take it,” said Invicta boss Cugley.
“I’m talking to other forwards but I’d love him to stay. It’s out of my hands.
“I’m going to say I think he’d benefit from another year here, because I’m biased, but he was in and out of a few teams before he came here and we have given him a platform to show what he can do.
“Does he need another year at this level? I maybe think he does but he might not think that.
“We get on very well and whichever way he chooses to go, I’m happy, because he’ll either be playing for us or he’ll have got himself a good move.”
Smith came through the academy at Maidstone before cutting his teeth in non-league at Sittingbourne.
He was signed by Dover, then in the National League, but found chances limited at Crabble and dropped back into Isthmian League football with Ashford before Folkestone pounced.
“Folkestone was a great choice for him,” said Cugley.
“We gave him the chance to come in and be the main striker and he’s done well for us. I am a bit biased but we’re a good club for forwards because we play attacking football.”
Cugley is in talks with transfer targets as he bids to mount another promotion challenge next season.
One asset in the market could be the grass pitch at Cheriton Road.
For while the 3G revolution continues in the county - Tonbridge, Whitstable and Herne Bay joining the ever-growing list of clubs making the switch - Invicta are sticking with their natural surface.
Cugley said: “You’re trying to sell what you’ve got at your club when you’re talking to players and one thing we do have is a nice grass pitch.
"That’s to our advantage because, at the moment, certain players are more comfortable on grass for different reasons.
“There won’t be many grass pitches left soon, and I can understand why with the benefits of 3G.
“I don’t know if Folkestone will one day go down that route, it’s not something we’ve discussed.
“I like 3G pitches, I think they’re really good, but it’s partly to our advantage that a couple of players aren’t comfortable with playing and training on them all week.”
Midfielder Kieron McCann’s second spell with Folkestone has ended, while utility man Ryan Johnson has also departed.
“We thank them both for their service,” said Cugley.
“Ryan did a good job for a year, it was always that sort of arrangement.
“He’s said good things about us and I’ve only got good things to say about him.
“Things move on in football, the same with Kieron McCann leaving.
“In the back of my mind I didn’t think either of them would stay but they’re good lads who did us proud.”
Meanwhile, record goalscorer Ian Draycott has been awarded a testimonial by Folkestone.
Invicta will host the striker’s former club, Maidstone, on July 23.
“He thoroughly deserves a testimonial, I’m pleased we could get it arranged,” said Cugley.
“He’s a good bloke, a good person to have around and very knowledgeable.
“I hope he’ll play on next season. He’s a good player to have in the squad, he’s still got a goal in him, and I want to get him involved in helping the forwards and coaching them.”