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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley can't wait to get started after keeping his squad together

Folkestone begin their pre-season friendlies in good shape having retained all of last year’s squad.

Add in the signings of Ryan Johnson, Kieron McCann and Ade Yusuff and Invicta’s squad is looking strong.

Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Barry Goodwin
Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Barry Goodwin

“I don’t think anybody’s left,” said boss Neil Cugley. “We’re quite a close-knit bunch and we all felt like we wanted to give it another go next season.

“With the new signings we’ve got a squad of 18, which is the most we’ve ever had. We just can’t wait to get back playing.”

Winger McCann and prolific striker Yusuff have rejoined from Cray Valley and are well-known to Folkestone fans.

Johnson arrived from Ramsgate and was playing National League South football with Maidstone just a year ago.

He operates in defence or midfield and has impressed Cugley both as a person and as a player.

“They’re great signings for us,” said Cugley. “Ade’s a great lad, he’s so strong, he scores goals and will cause teams lots of problems.

“Kieron coming back gives us a nice balance and Ryan’s a really good signing.

“He’s interested in football and he wants everything to be right - I can see him going into management one day.

“He’s versatile but I think I’ll play him holding midfield just because of his knowledge.”

Folkestone host Isthmian South East Ramsgate in their opening pre-season friendly at Cheriton Road on Saturday (3pm).

It will be the first chance for fans to see all the stadium improvements, which include new perimeter fencing.

Cugley said: “We’re hoping to get quite a few there on Saturday. We’ve done a lot of work to the ground and it will be good for people to see that.

“It’s exciting for the players, too, otherwise you’re coming back to the same old stadium all the time.

“I think it’s a good time for football, ironically enough, after everything that’s been going on in the world.

“A lot of clubs seem to have pushed on, there’s a lot of progressive clubs, and I think it will be a good time, especially for non-league football.

“Most clubs have been all right financially and got through the pandemic. It’s always difficult geographically at Folkestone but we can’t change that.

“We’ve got lads who want to be here, they’re in good spirits and we all want to see how we do.”

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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