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Bang-in-form striker Joe Taylor handed Neil Cugley a real bonus when in a phonecall this morning, Thursday, he told the boss that he feels fit and ready to play in  Invicta’s Second Qualifying Round Emirates FA Cup tie at home to Tooting & Mitcham United this weekend.

The 26-year-old striker limped out of Tuesday’s Kent Reliance Senior Cup tie with Greenwich Borough eight minutes from time after being clipped once in each half and there were fears that a recurrence of the knee injury he picked up in pre-season could mean him missing the Tooting tie.

But last season’s top scorer has looked as sharp as at any time in his two spells with Folkestone after returning to action and banging in four goals in three games, including the two that took Invicta into a penalty shoot-out against Borough in which – even without Joe - they banged in all five spot-kicks to reach the third round of the county cup.

Cugley said this morning: “Joe did get caught a couple of times on Tuesday and his knee was hurting a bit, but he says he’s feeling okay and wants to play.”

News of Folkestone’s other recent injured trio is also very encouraging as Ian Draycott, Ade Yusuff and Matt Newman all came through Tuesday’s game without any serious problems.

“Draycs hasn’t quite got rid of the tightness in his hamstring and probably won’t play the whole game but Ade and Matt seem fine” said Neil.


Definitely missing from the squad is talented midfielder Sam Hasler who misses one game after picking up five bookings, but competition for places in the starting line-up is as hot as it’s been for a long time.

“Yes, there’ll be a couple of disappointed players” said Cugley, “But we can only have 16 in the squad and it’s a good position to be in.”

With next Tuesday’s league cup visit to VCD Athletic the next fixture on the list, anyone who does miss out may well get a game in the renamed Velocity Trophy at Southern Division One side VCD’s Oakwood ground in Crayford.

Tooting currently sit 23rd out of 24 in the Bostik Premier Division table and still without a win after losing 3-1 at Burgess Hill Town in midweek.

The Terrors trailed 3-0 before former Walton Casuals and Merstham striker Omar Folkes pulled a goal back, but any hopes of a comeback virtually disappeared when goalkeeper Joe Tupper was sent off after handling outside the box.

The defeat left Tooting with just three points from seven league games played, but their 1-1 home draw with Needham Market last weekend was a better result than Invicta managed against the Suffolk side and they have also drawn at Merstham (2-2), and 1-1 at home to promoted Brightlingsea Regent on the opening day of the season.

But Frank Wilson’s side produced surely their best performance so far in beating Merstham 2-0 in the First Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup and Invicta boss Cugley says this is still a difficult tie.

“Like us 12 months ago, they’re finding the Premier Division a hard league to get used to after winning Division One South last season” he said. “They’ve got some good players – Folkes gets goals and Billy Dunn (left) can also be a handful.


“I was disappointed at the way we took our foot off the gas (in the second half against Greenwich) on Tuesday, and we can’t let that happen again.

“Tooting are a good a club with a great catchment area who I’m sure would love the £4,500 prize money almost as much as we would.

“It should be a good game, especially if we play as well as we did in the first half against Greenwich, but if the fans get behind the team as they have done so brilliantly already this season I’d like to think that we’ll get through.

“I’m really looking forward to the game.”

Kick-off at the Fullicks Stadium is, of course, 3pm.

If a replay is needed, it would be at Imperial Fields on Tuesday - and would mean two visits to that ground in eight days as Folkestone are scheduled to play there in the league on Tuesday, September 26.