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Folkestone Invicta boss Neil Cugley on their climb to second in Bostik Premier

By Steve Tervet

Looking down on Kent rivals Margate and Tonbridge Angels is a sweet feeling for Folkestone manager Neil Cugley.

Invicta, promoted in 2016, climbed to second in Bostik Premier on Saturday after claiming their sixth successive league win.

They lost captain Liam Friend to Margate in the summer but the Blues are in mid-table, just above a Tonbridge side who Folkestone beat earlier this season.

Ian Draycott celebrates with Kieron McCann Picture: Paul Amos
Ian Draycott celebrates with Kieron McCann Picture: Paul Amos

Cugley said: “With the players that left, for different reasons, we never expected to be here.

“We expected to be looking down the bottom, we can’t deny that, so to be above teams like Tonbridge and Margate is a great achievement for Folkestone.

“If we can end the season above those sort of clubs, that would be pleasing for everybody who’s involved with our club.

“It was a bit of a shock (to see we were up to second).

“I thought, with the players leaving in the summer and the ones we got in, it might take a bit of time to settle down but all credit to the players, they’ve been excellent from day one.

“The fitness levels have been high and we’ve got a lot of players who can score goals. At the other end, Callum Davies and Matt Newman have been playing brilliantly.”

Eight games on from their FA Cup defeat at Slough on October 14, Cugley’s men have only lost once and that was on penalties to Leiston in the FA Trophy.

He said: “We haven’t trained for weeks now, we’ve just played the games. The players are happy with that and it’s working.

“The pace of the game is so high now and we expect a lot from the players with how we play, at a high tempo. I think they quite enjoy having Thursday off.

“Folkestone’s not the easiest place to get to on a Thursday night so as long as they keep winning, they’ll get Thursdays off. If we go through a spell of not winning, they’ll come in and work on something.”

Folkestone go to Brightlingsea Regent on Saturday without Davies or Scott Heard, who are both suspended, although Jordan Wright, Joe Taylor and Ryan Cooper are all pushing for a start.

Regent, champions of the North division last season, have made a solid start in the Premier.

“There isn’t a poor side in the league,” Cugley said. “You’ve got to be switched on in every game. If we can do that, we could get a result there but if we’re not and they are, they could sneak it.”

Met Police moved above Folkestone on Tuesday night but Cugley's side have four games in hand.

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