Sly set to follow Friend on contract

Wednesday 09th August 2006

Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley announced after their 2-0 victory over Chatham Town at the Buzzlines Stadium, that promising youngsters Liam Friend and Ben Sly have been offered contracts at Cheriton Road, writes Andy Bown & Tom Marchant -

Centre back Friend, who has impressed in a number of performances in the pre season campaign, has put pen to paper on a one year deal at Invicta.

Pacy, attacking midfielder Sly is due to sign a similar one year deal tonight.

Cugley said: “We’re delighted that these two promising young lads are signing contracts with us.

“Liam has done well for us at the back in these pre season games and he will be a part of our squad for the league season.

“Ben has certainly impressed us a lot and he has shown a great attitude and has trained very hard – I’m looking forward to him signing!”

Goals from James Everitt and Paul Jones ensured Invicta victory against Chatham in the friendly, with a number of first team members returning back from holiday.

Cugley said: “We had a much stronger side out there tonight than we did over at Herne Bay and I think we looked good.

“We played some good football and I think the front two (Matt Carruthers and Paul Jones) looked sharp. Jonesy has come back from injury looking fit and he helps us get the ball down and play some top football.”

Talks are continuing with an unnamed forward but Cugley said: “At the moment we’re still in talks and there’s not much more to report on that front. But we’re very pleased with the lads up front tonight and Walid who couldn’t play, had an excellent game against Herne Bay on Saturday.

“Ratty Everitt has got a goal tonight and made a good run into the box for it. Him and Mev have come back pre season looking very fit and sharp and have done really well, especially in these last couple of games. They are important players for us and will be again this season, no doubt about that”.

Captain Adam Flanagan and creative midfielder Stuart Myall are due to return home from holidays this weekend, but will not play a part in the final pre season game against Dartford at the Buzzlines Stadium on Saturday afternoon).

Cugley revealed both players are due to play in the reserve friendly the following Monday (14th August) against Chatham Town at Cheriton Road.

The Seasiders then play host to Harrow Borough the following Saturday in the first League game of the Ryman Premier League season – certainly eagerly awaited after ten pre season games.

Cugley said: “We can’t wait! We have had ten pre season games but to be fair I don’t think any of our lads have played in every single one of those games, as a fair few of them have been away at some point. I think we’ve done everything right though; we’ve trained hard, we’ve had a look at some trialists, and some youngsters who have done well and we’ve experimented with a few things. We’ll certainly be ready for Harrow”.

The Invicta manager is confident he will have a full squad available to him for the first game of the season, except defender Paul Lamb who starts the season with a three game suspension from a controversial sending off against Staines at the end of last season.

Left wing back Steve Norman is recovering well from a calf injury sustained against Hythe Town, whilst forward Walid Matata did not travel down to Folkestone for the Chatham friendly due to bad blisters.

Matata’s brother, who featured for Ashford Town in the friendly against Invicta, was at Herne Bay on Saturday with Folkestone – not as a trialist but in order to try and get some more match football.

Cugley commented on youngster Rob Knott who was stretchered off against Chatham with a knee injury.

“He’s taken a nasty looking knock on the knee but we don’t think it’s too serious,” he said.

“Obviously it’s difficult to say for definite yet as we will have to see how it comes up in the morning but we’re keeping fingers crossed”.

Midfielder Martin Chandler pulled out of the squad for the Chatham game with a groin injury and Cugley added: “Well Saundo wasn’t due to be playing tonight as he had been away at Paul Scally’s (Gillingham Chairman) wedding but with Martin’s injury he’s come in to the side. Mark is such a big influence on our side and he’s a really great professional.”

Cugley expressed the significance of the final pre season game against Dartford, adding: “It’s a big game for us as we will be looking to end the pre season on a high. Anthony Henry plays for Dartford now and he was always a popular figure when he was at Folkestone – it will be nice to see him again”.

Invicta will certainly be seeking a win to ensure they go into their first League match full of confidence.

Cugley added: “The club is improving all the time and so we have got to match that on the field by continuing to improve this season.

“I’ve seen these bookmaker odds and I’m aware some people think we will struggle this season, but we’ve proved them wrong before and we’re just as determined, even more so in fact, to prove them wrong again.”

Folkestone Invicta  v  Dartford
Pre-Season Friendly
Saturday 12th August 2006
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Buzzlines Stadium, Cheriton Road, Folkestone