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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley delighted to have signed former Ramsgate striker Steve Smith

Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley admits he is looking forward to seeing what new striker Steve Smith can do.

The 26-year-old moved to the BuildKent Stadium last week after leaving Isthmian South East side Ramsgate for whom he hit a hat-trick in a 4-0 FA Cup win over Arundel earlier this season.

Before that he was top scorer at Whitstable, having previously played for Glebe and Rusthall.

Steve Smith pictured playing last season for Whitstable Picture: Les Biggs
Steve Smith pictured playing last season for Whitstable Picture: Les Biggs

Cugley sees Smith as an ideal man to play down the middle and at 6ft 3in he certainly has the physical presence.

He trained with the club for the first time last week and came on as a substitute as Invicta returned to the top of the Isthmian Premier with Saturday’s 1-0 win at Corinthian Casuals.

They extended their lead over Hornchurch to four points with Tuesday's 4-2 home win over Cheshunt when Smith again appeared as a late replacement.

Ira Jackson, Jerson Dos Santos and defensive pair Josh Vincent and Alfie Paxman scored the goals against Cheshunt who had led 2-1 at half-time.

Of Smith's move Cugley explained: “It all sort of fell into place, really.

“I’d heard he was leaving Ramsgate and I was looking for a striker so I made a few phone calls.

“I spoke to his ex-managers and one of my players, Matty Newman, knows him really well.

“I also know people at Whitstable and everything I heard about him was positive.

“We’ve got Jerson (Dos Santos) but no one else who can really play down the middle.

“A lot of our forwards play out wide and I think once the pitches start to get a bit heavier he will be a good asset.

“He’s another one of those players we’ve taken from the league below and financially it works for us.

“We’ve got loads of games coming up so everyone’s going to be needed and I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops.”

Cugley admits it's pleasing to be back at the top but says his players will have to work hard to stay there.

Invicta entertain Bognor Regis on Saturday and East Thurrock on Tuesday as part of a run of five successive home matches in league and cups.

Cugley added: “Being top is nice but it brings its own pressures.

“Everyone wants to beat you so you have to be strong characters.”

Striker Ian Draycott is still not quite fit enough to start a game after his wrist injury but Cugley expects Sam Hasler (ankle) to be available for the Bognor game.

Invicta have been drawn at home to Isthmian Premier rivals Lewes in the FA Trophy first qualifying round.

The tie will be played on Saturday, October 26, with the winners receiving £2,450.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent


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