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Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley says teenage striker Tyler Sterling does not look out of place in Isthmian Premier

Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley says teenage striker Tyler Sterling thoroughly deserves his first contract.

The 17-year-old former New Romney player has signed a deal which keeps him at the BuildKent Stadium until the end of the 2020-21 season.

Sterling first caught Cugley’s eye while playing for the club’s under-18s and has recently been given a chance in the first team with impressive results.

Folkestone's Tyler Sterling Picture: Paul Amos
Folkestone's Tyler Sterling Picture: Paul Amos

He has already scored his first senior goal – a stunning 25-yard effort in the 3-1 home defeat to Carshalton – and was man-of-the-match in the 1-0 defeat to Wingate & Finchley at the BuildKent.

Cugley, whose side are third in Isthmian Premier, explained: “Tyler’s a good player and he’s really stepped up to the task since he’s been involved with the first team squad.

“The games he’s played have not been the easiest, they’ve been against the likes of Worthing, Carshalton and Dartford (in the Kent Senior Cup last Tuesday) and he hasn’t looked at all out of place.

“We’ve been watching him in the under-18s for a couple of years, this hasn’t just happened but he’s got better and better.

“He’s been training with the first team for quite a while and you know you’ve got a good player when the rest of the players start talking about him.

“He can play out wide, or in behind, he’s got a decent build and I would think he’s only going to get better.”

Cugley remains keen to bolster his attacking options and is ‘cautiously optimistic’ of adding a new face before Saturday’s home league game against seventh-placed Enfield.

The Invicta boss met with a potential signing from an Isthmian South East club on Monday and thinks the discussions went well.

He explained: “I think this could be a good opportunity for him and my hope is that he’ll see it that way too.”

Invicta, one of three clubs sitting seven points behind leaders Worthing, continue their league programme on Tuesday when they host fourth-placed Cray Wanderers.

Cugley's side reached the quarter-finals of the Velocity Trophy on Tuesday when they edged out Isthmian North side Basildon on penalties at Aveley.

Matt Newman scored the decisive spot kick to secure a 5-4 win after the teams had finished deadlocked at 2-2.

Johan ter Horst grabbed an 88th minute equaliser to force penalties after goals from Joseph Paxman and Albert Perry had overturned Alfie Paxman's early opener for the visitors.

The other succcesful penalty takers were Ira Jackson, ter Horst, Paxman and Jerson Dos Santos.

Invicta’s Isthmian Premier game at Cheshunt on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Defender Nat Blanks has joined Isthmian South East club Cray Valley on a 28-day loan in a bid to get more regular football.

Midfielder Sam Hasler is due to finish his loan spell with Ashford United this week.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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