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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley fears his side may struggle to compete with clubs at the top of the Isthmian Premier Division if he doesn't add more firepower

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Neil Cugley fears Folkestone may struggle to compete with those at the top-end of the Isthmian Premier if he doesn’t add more firepower to his squad.

Invicta, who lost 3-0 at Lewes on Saturday, missed out on a signing last week but manager Cugley still hopes to bolster his attacking ranks in the near future.

Folkestone manager Neil Cugley. Picture: Randolph File
Folkestone manager Neil Cugley. Picture: Randolph File

Cugley said: "The top dozen or 14 teams are really good in this league.

"Teams are strengthening every week. Maybe it’s something that I have got to do now to make us a bit stronger in the final third.

"With the ones around us (in the league), if we are not careful, we may not be competing with them.

"That would be a shame because we have come a long way in a fairly short space of time."

Folkestone had expected to welcome their new arrival into their squad for last Tuesday’s match at Wingate & Finchley but, instead, he pulled out of the deal.

Cugley, who said the player had actually signed forms to join the club, admitted: “It’s disappointing when it’s that close.”

Invicta went on to win 4-1 at Wingate anyway, as Kieron McCann bagged a hat-trick and Scott Heard also netted.

But it’s the only time in the last five league games that Folkestone have found the net.

Cugley had let teenage striker Tyler Sterling head to Hythe on a one-month loan, and now has allowed defender Finn O’Mara to join Hastings on a one-month loan while Ollie Freeman is getting game time with Southern Counties East Hollands & Blair.

Folkestone travel to Danny Kedwell’s Cray Wanderers tonight.

Wanderers are towards the bottom of the table, third-bottom with 10 points, although nobody has played fewer league games than them - just 13 so far - and their squad is stacked full of higher-league experience.

They have signed midfielder Sam Skeffington on loan from Bromley this week.

Cugley said: “You just need to look at the names there.

“It’s at Bromley (Cray ground-share at Hayes Lane with them), as well, which is a lovely ground. Every game is hard in this league.

“They have got a lot of experience there so, if we are not at it, we will be punished.”

This Saturday, Invicta visit Southern Premier South Hartley Wintney in the FA Trophy second round - their fourth successive away game.

The winner of the tie will earn £3,750 in prize money.

Reflecting on the Lewes defeat at the Dripping Pan, Cugley - who celebrated his birthday on the day - felt his sixth-placed side deserved a point.

Ollie Tanner had given the Sussex club the lead and, as Folkestone pushed for an equaliser, Taylor Maloney and Joe Taylor added late goals.

Cugley said: “I think we deserved a draw, to be fair. It was only towards the end that they got two more goals.

“But when we started pushing players forward, it was probably going to end 1-1 or 3-0 and, unfortunately, it ended 3-0 to them.”

Freeman will be back with Folkestone’s squad for their trip to face Cray while Jordan Wright, who came off the bench at the weekend, could be in line for a start.

Invicta’s only injury doubt is midfielder Ronnie Dolan (hamstring).

Defender Luca Borrello, 17, was named on Folkestone’s bench for their match against Lewes.

Cugley explained: “He is in the youth team and played on Sunday (for the youth team).

“He is good. Rather than not having a sub, we try to take them if we can.

“I think it’s good to show the 17 year olds what it’s all about to see if they really want to do it or not.”

Keeper Alexis Andre Jr remains registered with the club and may be called upon again this season if first-choice Tim Roberts gets injured or suspended.

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