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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley insists defeat to Isthmian Premier Division title rivals Worthing will not end race for glory

Neil Cugley has played down the significance of Folkestone’s top-of-the-table clash at Worthing.

Invicta trail the Isthmian Premier Division leaders by five points going into Saturday’s meeting and while it’s an important game, nothing will be decided in West Sussex.

Folkestone (left) get stuck in during Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Carshalton .Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone (left) get stuck in during Saturday's 3-1 defeat to Carshalton .Picture: Paul Amos

The Folkestone boss said: “They might see it as a title decider because if they win they’ll be eight points clear but there’s still such a long way to go.

“I don’t think Saturday will determine it because there’s still a lot of games to play and clubs like Hornchurch and Cray won’t be giving up yet, either.

“From our point of view, we had a run of five games and I said we wanted to win at least three of them. We beat Hornchurch and East Thurrock, which was good, but then we lost to Carshalton on Saturday.

“We’re still on course for three wins and hopefully we’ll have all our players back for the run-in.

“I don’t think there’s much between us and Worthing.

“I actually don’t think there’s much between the top eight or nine sides in the league.

“You haven’t got anyone walking away with it like you maybe did in the past with Dorking and Billericay, who had the finances and were a lot better than everyone else.”

Striker Jerson Dos Santos is an injury doubt and captain Callum Davies is unavailable, while Alfie Paxman serves the final match of an additional ban following his red card at Brightlingsea.

Hit with a three-game ban, the FA added an extra two for comments made to the referee.

Cugley said: “It’s frustrating for the lad because he’s been sent off when he shouldn’t have been and then he’s said something to the ref.

“It was a ridiculous red card but it’s something he’ll have to learn from.”

Sam Hasler has gone on a 28-day loan to Ashford after two months out, scoring twice in the Nuts & Bolts’ 3-0 win at Hastings on Saturday.

Cugley said: “It’s just because he hasn’t played for a couple of months.

“Ironically, we could have done with him on the bench with the players we have out but it’s better that he’s out playing games because a match-fit Sam Hasler is a very good player.”

Ian Draycott, who’s been playing dual-registration at Chatham, was back in Invicta colours as a second-half substitute in the 3-1 defeat by Carshalton.

He played in Tuesday night's rearranged Kent Senior Cup tie against Tonbridge, where Johan ter Horst scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 win.

But it looks likely the forward will be back with Chatham by the weekend as they continue their bid for Southern Counties East promotion.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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