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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley says next few weeks are key to club's Isthmian Premier promotion push

Neil Cugley admits Folkestone will probably find out in the next few weeks just how genuine their Isthmian Premier title challenge is.

Second-placed Invicta, without a fixture last weekend, resume their campaign at Lewes on Saturday, after which they play Kingstonian (December 3) and Horsham (December 7) in successive home games.

The latter head the table, just a point clear of Invicta, and manager Cugley says the weeks leading up to Christmas will be a good benchmark of their title credentials.

Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone manager Neil Cugley Picture: Paul Amos

They also face Bowers & Pitsea away (December 14), and Kent rivals Margate at home (Boxing Day).

Cugley, who celebrated his 63rd birthday on November 20, said: “The next three games are big ones but all the games between now and the end of the year will be important because they’ll give us the chance to see where we are as a club.

“We’ve played 16 so by the end of the year we’ll effectively be halfway through and, by then, things generally start to sort themselves out.

“We’ve played a lot of the big clubs and held our own so I don’t think we are daunted by anyone.

“We know it’s a good division, a strong division, and we respect the opposition. We just keep trying to plug away and see where it gets us.

“I think Horsham are a bit like us in as much as they’re a bit of a surprise package, but we’ve got a nice squad and we’re playing some good football.

“We score quite a few goals and I think that puts other teams on the back foot.”

Invicta’s last outing was an excellent 3-1 win at Enfield

on November 16 and Cugley admits his players will be pleased to be back in action after a fortnight off.

Micheal Everitt has been carrying a foot injury but should be involved at the weekend.

Cugley added: “We trained Saturday morning and we’ll be training again Tuesday but when you’ve got a game to look forward to it gives you more purpose. I know the players will be raring to go.”

Ian Draycott’s loan spell at Southern Counties East League Chatham was due to expire this week and Cugley says he will talk to all parties before deciding the best course of action.

He watched Draycott play in Chatham’s 3-0 victory over Crowborough on Saturday, taking the opportunity to offer his condolences to Chats boss and friend Scott Lindsey, whose wife Hayley died of cancer on the Thursday.

Lindsey worked as player-coach under Cugley at Invicta and recently hailed the influence his former manager had on his coaching career.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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