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FA Cup: Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley hopes Whitstable Town tie is the start of a run for his side

Neil Cugley wants to roll back the years and take Folkestone on one more famous FA Cup run.

Invicta travel to Whitstable in the first qualifying round on Saturday knowing they’re four wins away from facing Football League opposition.

Neil Cugley takes Folkestone to Whitstable in the FA Cup this weekend Picture: Paul Amos
Neil Cugley takes Folkestone to Whitstable in the FA Cup this weekend Picture: Paul Amos

It’s 14 years since they made it that far, pushing Chester City all the way before going down 2-1.

Invicta boss Cugley, who also managed Ashford in glamour ties against Fulham and Watford, would love another taste of the cup magic before retiring.

He said: “I’m getting older and I’d like to have one more day out. I hope it’s this year and we’ll do our best.

“We had the trip up to Chester when they were in the League and that was great fun. We nearly got there the year before, too.

“Somebody will do it. All credit to Haringey, they had a good run last year (getting to the first round proper) and they were in our league.

Finn O'Mara could be fit enough to play some part at Whitstable Picture: Andy Jones
Finn O'Mara could be fit enough to play some part at Whitstable Picture: Andy Jones

“There’s going to be somebody in our league that does quite well in the FA Cup and I hope it’s us.”

Goalkeeper Tim Roberts is back after missing the 1-0 win at Horsham which kept Folkestone top of the Isthmian Premier on Saturday.

Finn O’Mara could be fit enough to feature, while Ian Draycott (wrist) isn’t far away from playing for the first time this season.

Whitstable, mid-table in Isthmian South East, beat Newhaven to reach this stage and will be looking to deny Folkestone £4,500 in prize money.

“Financially, it’s so important,” Cugley said. “It takes a lot of pressure off.

“It used to be the glory of the FA Cup and then the money but it’s more the other way around now. The chairman said “we’ve got to win on Saturday” and he’s not the first chairman to tell me that!

“It means you haven’t got the worries of maybe having to trim your squad down. Unless you’ve got finances coming from somewhere else, how are you going to keep a squad together?

“If we lost in the FA Cup I’m not saying we’d suddenly have mass changes, but it just makes it a little bit more difficult.”

Folkestone played Whitstable in pre-season so there will be no surprises for either manager.

Cugley said: “I like Lloyd (Blackman), he’s a good man and he’s changed their style of play. They try to play football the right way and you’ve got to give them credit for that.

“But we’re buzzing so we’ve just got to keep going. We went through April unbeaten as well (as August).

“It’s been quite a long time (since we lost) and it’s the same team, bar one. We finished the season very well and sometimes people forget that.”

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