Sunday 18th July 2004

Folkestone boss Cugley happy with pre-season preparation

FOLKESTONE Invicta manager Neil Cugley admitted he was happy with his squad in their opening two pre-season friendlies against Kent’s top two sides, Gillingham and Gravesend & Northfleet, writes Stephen McCartney.

As Cugley’s side look forward to their debut campaign in the Ryman League Premier Division, although they haven’t found the back of the net in their first two friendlies, the manager is very pleased with the players application.

Folkestone opened their pre-season campaign on Wednesday 7th July, a little earlier than most clubs, against Gillingham, and a 32nd minute strike from Matt Jarvis was all that separated the two sides.

Jarvis, who got on the scoresheet in the corresponding pre-season fixture last season, fired home a low shot from the edge of the penalty box after latching onto Darious Henerson’s through ball.

And against Gravesend & Northfleet on Saturday, first half strikes from Justin Skinner (penalty) and from former Wycombe Wanderers’ hero Roy Essandoh gave the Nationwide Conference outfit victory.

However, like all clubs at this time of the year, their focus is all about preparing for their opening league game, and Invicta get their Ryman League campaign underway with a trip to Salisbury City on Saturday 14th August, before Chelmsford City are the visitors to the Westbourne Stadium three days later as the stadium hosts Ryman League football for the very first time.

Cugley, however, was pleased with his players against the two highest ranked clubs in Kent football.

He said: “Obviously Gravesend & Northfleet had more players than us and were more stronger.  They have some very good players and I think we did well and I am really pleased.”

The manager added: “I am pleased with the two games and we played the two strongest sides in Kent.  They are both better than us and I am pleased with our fitness.”

Cugley revealed a new signing with 21-year-old striker Simon Glover, who lives in Maidstone, joining the exodus from troubled neighbours, Dover Athletic.

Cugley explained: “He is a very quick player, very direct and he was in and out of the Dover side last season.  He will play every week at Folkestone and it will do him the world of good.”

Cugley relies on attracting local players as its very difficult signing players from areas further a field due to the financial and geographic position of the club.

He added: “We are looking forward to the Ryman League – the travelling is much better.  Financially it’s a bit hard work, we have just got to dig in, and hopefully do well in midtable and enjoy ourselves.

”It’s going to be hard for ourselves and financially a hard season, but we are looking forward to it.”

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