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Striker David Smith reveals why he chose Folkestone Invicta over clubs at higher levels

By Joe Harbert

Folkestone Invicta striker David Smith insists joining the club was a 'no-brainer' following his move from Ashford United at the weekend.

The 21-year-old, who helped fire the Nuts & Bolts to second in Isthmian South East last season with 23 goals in all competitions, admits the opportunity to challenge himself in what will be his first taste of step three football was something he simply couldn't resist.

David Smith has left Ashford for Folkestone Picture: Andy Jones
David Smith has left Ashford for Folkestone Picture: Andy Jones

The former Maidstone academy youngster also praised manager Neil Cugley for his role in securing the move, and hopes his influence will allow him to follow in the footsteps of ex-Invicta forward Ira Jackson in becoming a success at the Buildkent Stadium.

"There were a few offers from other clubs, some even at a higher level, but I wanted to go somewhere where I have the opportunity to play as many games as I did last year," Smith said.

"During the past few years, Folkestone have been good at helping young players like Ira and Harry Smith improve and get into higher leagues, which says a lot about the club and the way they play.

"The team go forward quickly and use the attackers a lot and that's why I felt it was the right place to go - I didn't want to go somewhere where I wasn't going to be one of the manager's main options, so the decision was a no-brainer.

"I also wanted to stay fairly local as well without commuting too much, because I've still got one more year of university left and so I didn't want to travel a really long way to play.

"But obviously the manager was one of the biggest influences in me joining - he told me how it is without cutting any corners.

"He contacted me and said we're looking for a striker and that he likes the way I play, but he also says he can still add to my game, so we've got a good level of trust already, and that was why I felt it was the right time to join."

The Neil Cugley factor influenced David Smith's decision to join Folkestone Picture: Andy Jones
The Neil Cugley factor influenced David Smith's decision to join Folkestone Picture: Andy Jones

Despite Folkestone confirming their new recruit as an Invicta player on Saturday, Smith has already enjoyed a fruitful start to life at the club.

The striker has hit the net twice for his new side in his first two outings for the team during pre-season before his move was made official, and he admits his aims of progressing even further this season will be helped by featuring regularly again.

He added: "I had time to think during lockdown about a lot of things like perhaps staying at Ashford and potentially winning the league with them next year, but I thought that the best idea was to try and progress in a higher league and play another 30-40 games.

"It was still hard last season because a lot of teams sat behind the ball, so it was still a little surprising to get the amount of goals I did straightaway considering it was my first full season at that level.

"But I still know there's much to my game that I need to add and that I can offer, so of course I'm aiming to find another gear and hit 20-25 goals again to help the team get that final push over the line to get promoted.

"I played 90 minutes at Chatham and Deal and scored in both games, and then played 45 minutes at the weekend, and those matches really suited me and my strengths.

"The camaraderie in the changing rooms has also been good so far and everyone is enjoying playing football again, so that’s great, too."

Read more: The latest sports news in Kent

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