We?ve got to work harder to aim for play-off?s, admits Cugley

Thursday 18th May 2006

Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley is very much looking forward to the start of next season’s Ryman Premier League campaign, writes Andy Bown & Tom Marchant - www.folkestoneinvicta.co.uk

Cugley has been busy configuring his squad since the start of the year with a number of new arrivals and departures and when asked if Folkestone fans would be seeing anymore new faces in the pre season he said: “We’re going to stick with what we’ve got basically. We’re looking to bring one player in on loan for the start of the season, a bit of a long term loan. That’s still in discussion but hopefully it’ll materialise in the next few weeks”.

With rumours circulating linking the club to the ever popular Allan Tait who had a very successful spell with the Cheriton Road club a few seasons back, Cugley was keen to explain the situation with the forward saying: “I have spoken to him a few times and I did really try to bring him back but he didn’t want to come as he wanted to play in a higher league. I think it’s near enough guaranteed he’ll be joining Eastbourne – it’s near where he lives and they can offer him a higher standard of football and better money”.

Cugley added: “I still speak to him as a friend and we get on well. He would like to come back one day but we need to be in a better position in the leagues for that to happen”.

The playing season may well be over but work continues at the Buzzlines Stadium with a number of projects in progress. Work on the pitch was completed at the start of the month and Cugley said: “The pitch is looking a lot better already and obviously the better the pitch the better the football we can play on it.

“I’m delighted with the work and thank the Supporters Club for paying the bill to get it done as it’s much appreciated. There’s a lot of grass on it already and there’s still two months before we start playing on it!”

Club secretary Neil Pilcher released a list of scheduled friendlies earlier in the week starting on Saturday July 15th against Gravesend and Northfleet at Cheriton Road.

The Invicta boss stated several of the aims for his squad in the pre season.

“We’ve got to work more on our shooting and finishing. Our fitness levels were very high last year so we want to get back to those levels early on.

“I’ve had to pull a couple of the players up to think they can work on their fitness and they’ve got to go away and work a little harder.

“It’s more the local lads Robby Knott, Martin Chandler and Micheal Everitt – I think they can be fitter and I want them to come back and have a bit more about them”.

Cugley expressed: “I think everyone though will be keen to get back to training once the World Cup is over and just start playing football again”.

After consolidating their place in the Ryman Premier last season the Folkestone manager is keen to continue to make progress.

“We just want to continue our improvement and we’ve had a look at the teams coming into the league and we know it’ll be a stronger league than last year. There’s a lot of finance going into some teams this year and it’s getting a tough league.

“We’ve got to improve and do our best and see how we go – we will be well prepared for it though.

“Even if we improve a little bit then it’ll be nice but if we improve quite a lot then it’ll mean we’ll be in the play offs. We were only five or six wins off the play offs last season.

“What we lack in cash investment is we make up for in team spirit and work ethic. We went to Spain last week, had a great time and we all get on very well and work hard for Folkestone”.

Next season also sees an increased number of Kent derby games with Ramsgate and Tonbridge Angels amongst the sides from Ryman Division One gaining promotion.

“I’m really pleased with more derby games next year – we seem to do well in them and they’ve restructured the League even more and we have less travelling to do, so we can’t moan at all!”

Neighbours Dover Athletic were amongst the teams not to get promoted after losing 3-2 in the play off final against Tonbridge Angels and hence endure another season in Ryman One.

The Folkestone manager expressed: “I’ve got mixed feelings about it really! As a manager you love those games against Dover and I really enjoyed playing them and beating them twice the season before last.

“But it’s nice to think that Folkestone are still above Dover in league status which five years ago no-one would have dreamed of. I still expect them to get promoted next season though!”


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