Thursday 24th November 2005

We want to play a big Conference club in Trophy - Cugley

Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley wants his side to progress in the FA Trophy, having caught the big-game bug, writes Stephen McCartney.

The Cheriton Road outfit were knocked out of the FA Cup in the first round proper at Chester City earlier in the month and travel to Southern League Division One East side Harlow Town in the final qualifying round of a competition the long serving manager wants to do well in.

"We are looking forward to the game," he said in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk.

"It's one of those games we are looking to win but if we get a draw we won't be disappointed either."

Folkestone go into the game on the back of their 1-1 home draw with Chelmsford City on Monday night, but Cugley admitted his side must start winning their games in hand, especially at Cheriton Road where they've only played six league games.

He said: "I was pleased, I thought it was a very good game.  Chelmsford have been on a very good run in the last couple of months where they've improved quite a lot and it was a good test for us."

If FA Trophy results go their way, Cugley's charges host Slough Town at the Buzzlines Stadium next Monday, and look to improve their position in the bottom four of the Ryman Premier League.

"We want to win these games to get back up the table," he said.  "We are at least a midtable team and we want to get there as soon as possible.

Cugley, however, released Matt Bower to their Ryman League Division One neighbours Ashford Town recently and explained: "As you know we run on a very small squad and have to keep the budget in tow.

"The unexpected thing was Martin Chandler coming through, having been out for a long part of last season.  He's come back and done ever so well. 

"It seemed the best thing for all concerned for him to return to Ashford."

Cugley admitted the club's financial position is "looking good," and he heaped praise on Mick Dix for producing local talent from their youth and reserve team to play first team football.

Invicta's under eighteen's were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the second round proper on Tuesday night, losing 2-1 to Chipstead at Cheriton Road.

"I'm delighted with Micky," said Cugley.  "Our reserve team are all kids from our youth team from last year and this season's crop have done well in the FA Youth Cup.

"Most weeks we have seven or eight players who have come out of the youth at Folkestone Invicta Football Club, and it's an excellent youth set-up, which is unsurpassed anywhere in Kent."

And speaking about the club's finances, Cugley added: "We are financially the best we've been.  We have never been a club spending unnecessarily and everything is looking good and we are pleased."

And with a full strength squad for Saturday's trip to Harlow, Cugley feels his side will progress.  "It will be nice to progress for the money and after the Chester game, which we enjoyed, we want to play a big Conference club to see how we'll progress in that one."

Harlow Town v Folkestone Invicta
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round
Saturday 26th November 2005
Kick Off 3:00pm
at Sports Centre Stadium, Hammarskjold Road, Harlow, Essex