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Folkestone Invicta's all-time leading scorer Ian Draycott thinks the club are ready to earn promotion from the Isthmian Premier League


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Ian Draycott believes Folkestone Invicta are ready for promotion to National League South.

Invicta are still unbeaten this season and are now only one win away from a place in the FA Cup first round after Saturday’s 1-0 win over National League North Gloucester City thanks to Ade Yusuff’s goal.

Folkestone's Ian Draycott puts a challenge in against a Gloucester City man in the FA Cup on Saturday. Picture: Randolph File
Folkestone's Ian Draycott puts a challenge in against a Gloucester City man in the FA Cup on Saturday. Picture: Randolph File

Draycott, who recently became the club’s all-time leading scorer, believes everyone at the Fullicks Stadium is pulling in the same direction as they prepare to host Brightlingsea Regent in the Isthmian Premier this Saturday.

Folkestone reached the Isthmian Premier play-offs during their 2017/18 campaign but they lost 4-0 to Hendon in the semi-final.

When asked if he felt this season was their best shot at going up, he said: “I think so.

“I think we are ready. A couple of years ago, we had a really good run. But maybe, as a club and as a squad, we weren’t quite ready.

“But I think now we have matured. We have more games under our belts and we made a couple of good signings in the summer.

Folkestone scorer Ade Yusuff on the ball during his team's win against Gloucester City with team-mate Draycott in support. Picture: Randolph File
Folkestone scorer Ade Yusuff on the ball during his team's win against Gloucester City with team-mate Draycott in support. Picture: Randolph File

“Everybody is pulling in the same direction and I think - as a squad, as a team and as a club - we are ready.”

Prolific early in his Folkestone career after joining from Leatherhead in 2014, 33-year-old Draycott is now playing in midfield.

He said: “I feel fine.

“Over the past few years, it’s been a bit stop-start. When we do play Saturday-Tuesday, I have played with knocks where, maybe, I should have held my hands up and said ‘I’m not fully fit’ for the Tuesday but I’d rather go out and give it a go.

“At the minute, we are playing Saturday to Saturday a lot of the time.

Folkestone's Jordan Wright driving forward at the Fullicks Stadium last weekend. Picture: Randolph File
Folkestone's Jordan Wright driving forward at the Fullicks Stadium last weekend. Picture: Randolph File

“But I’m sure, when the pitches get heavy and we are doing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday, it’s going to be important to have a squad around us. I think we have got a real squad this season.

“There are going to be times where people are going to miss games so we are going to need people who are ready to step up.”

Draycott scored his 142nd goal for Folkestone, a penalty, during a 3-3 draw against Potters Bar in their latest league fixture to enter the club’s record books.

“It is, obviously, great. It’s a brilliant achievement,” he admitted.

“I have had loads of messages from ex-team-mates, as well as supporters, offering me loads of congratulations which is brilliant. I think, when it sinks in, it will be one I can reflect on.

“Right now, as boring as it sounds, it’s a case of concentrating on my jobs.

“Number one, trying to get myself in the team on a consistent basis and, number two, chipping in with goals and helping the team as we hopefully go for promotion this season.”

With Draycott in a deeper role, Ade Yusuff and David Smith are leading the Folkestone frontline.

Draycott said: “They make your life easy.

“If we can get the ball into them with good quality, we know we are going to create a lot of chances.

"I’m playing a bit deeper and, for me, it’s brilliant. You know, as soon as the ball goes into them, it’s going to stick and you can make your runs off them.”

Yusuff netted the only goal during last weekend’s third qualifying round tie to set up a trip to National League Eastleigh on Saturday, October 16.

Draycott said: “Even before the game, Cugs (manager Neil Cugley) was saying the FA Cup is the best cup competition in the world. We have got to take advantage of it.

“It doesn’t come around very often. A lot of boys have been here a while and not had a good run.

“A lot of boys that are here probably don’t have too many seasons left in us as well.

“So it’s important we take the here and now, and make sure we have a good run this season.”

The winners of the fourth qualifying round FA Cup tie between Folkestone and Eastleigh will earn £9,375 in prize-money.

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent

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