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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley feels Isthmian Premier promotion hopefuls have become too reliant on Ira Jackson for goals

Folkestone boss Neil Cugley has called upon the club’s other strikers to help take some of the goalscoring burden off leading marksman Ira Jackson.

Jackson has been Invicta’s go-to man at the BuildKent Stadium for much of this season but Cugley believes the promotion-chasers have become too reliant on him.

The 23-year-old has already scored 23 goals – 20 of which have come in the Isthmian Premier – and his tally is more than Johan ter Horst (12) and Jerson Dos Santos (10) together.

Folkestone's Ira Jackson in action against Wingate & Finchley Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone's Ira Jackson in action against Wingate & Finchley Picture: Paul Amos

Saturday’s surprise 1-0 home defeat to strugglers Wingate and Finchley underlined the need for greater penetration and Cugley says it’s time for other players to step up to the plate.

He said: “Give credit to Wingate, they’re fighting to stay in the division and they made it difficult but if I’m honest I was disappointed with us.

“With all the attacking players we’ve got out there we should be doing better.

“All my midfielders are attacking midfielders and then you’ve got the three up front.

“Ira did well again on Saturday but he’s become too much the main one. We need to share the goals around a bit more.

“I think a couple of the others have struggled with a lack of confidence, and the odd niggle, but we do need to liven up that area.”

Cugley admits he has been trying to bring in a new forward for some time, and was close to doing so before one particular deal went cold.

He explained: “We’re trying all the time but we’re at a stage of the year when clubs don’t want to let players go, especially strikers.

“I thought we got one but it did not happen so we take it on the chin and move on.”

Cugley says he still has irons in the fire, but whoever comes has to be the right player, at the right price.

He added: “There are lots of things to consider, it’s not always just about finances. If the player is at the level above it’s does he want to drop down? But circumstances do change so we’ll keep trying.”

Second-placed Invicta resume their league campaign away to Cheshunt on Saturday in the first of 11 games between now and the end of April.

Like Wingate, Cheshunt are battling against relegation and Cugley expects that will make them every bit as tough to face.

He said: “They will be big, strong and I would imagine fairly direct, that is how these teams play.

“It’s up to us to come up with answers.”

Midfielder Ronnie Dolan (back) missed the Wingate game but Cugley hopes he will be fit for the trip to Cheshunt.

Invicta are in action again on Tuesday, when they travel to Aveley to face Basildon in the Velocity Trophy Knockout Stage 2.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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