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WE NEED PLAYERS WITH THE COMMITMENT TO TAKE US TO THE HIGHER LEVELS SAYS NEIL

Whatever course life takes, and whatever business your are in, there are times when you have must pick yourself up, dust yourself off and find even more determination to do better next time.

Five days since his side’s poor performance in a crucial Bostik Premier Division play-off semi-final at Hendon, Folkestone Invicta manager Neil Cugley has had time to recover from that disappointment and is looking ahead with pride and genuine ambition  to make sure the that his players are ready to take the club to even higher levels.

 “Ade Yusuff and Kieron McCann (pictured  below), already look the better than when they came here but others have to follow their example.

“They’ve all got the ability or they wouldn’t be here, but we’ve got to have players who want to go even higher. I’m sure we’ve all still got ambitions in this game and that’s what we need to see from them.

“We’ve played so well in several of the bigger games, but in three matches, particularly we could have done better” he said this morning, Tuesday.

“I think all of us realise the games I mean – I’m talking about the FA Cup tie at Slough back in October, the crucial home game with Dulwich Hamlet recently, and last week’s performance at Hendon.

“At times we’ve looked the really good side I believe that we are, but in those three games the players have let themselves and everyone else down

“Let’s face it, if our season had ended with the 2-2 draw at Billericay wouldn’t having the kind of conversation that we are.”

Cugley’s men were the only team not to have suffered defeat at the hands of the mega rich new league champions, Billericay, and were within maybe just a couple of minutes of holding on to become the only side to do the double over controversial owner Glenn Tamplin’s expensively assembled squad.

Now though, is not the time for recriminations as Folkestone look back on one of, if not, the best season the club has ever known.

Experience

“I’d like to think that most of our players will be better players for the experience we have all had this season.

“We finished fourth in the end with Hendon going above us on the last day the last day and I firmly believe that the top four in the table were the best four teams in this league.

“As has been said so many times over the course of the last six or seven months, we have achieved far more than we ever thought we would, and we’re looking forward to next season already.

“But  having done this well, it will be that much harder to keep it up and I’ve no real reason to think that we can’t do that.

“These are a great bunch of players, and even more important, they’re all really good people. I can’t wait to get started and working with them again next season.

“As we’ve already announced some have already signed on again while no one has said they are not going to be back again in a couple of weeks time.

“The board have given me a 15% increase in the playing budget but that will not go as far as some people imagine. The players who have taken us where we are all deserve a little bit more, but we all realise that we need a couple more players in the squad if we can possibly afford it.

“We’ve got to defend better when we need to, and I’m talking to a couple of players right now with that in mind. We probably won’t know any more just yet, though.”

The changing make-up of the Bostik Premier Division is due to be announced at the end of this week with a further re-structuring of non-league footall.

Trips

 Signs are that Folkestone will not have any of their longer trips to East Anglia next season, with the changes meaning far more westward trips to Sussex and possibly Hampshire.

Questions remain over one or two outer London clubs with promoted Walton Casuals now looking likely to be switched out of the Bostik League with the team they beat last weekend in the play-off to gain promotion, Corinthian Casuals replacing Thurrock who have folded following the ‘retirement’ of long-serving chairman Tommy South.

The close season seems to get shorter the longer we all care about these kind of things, but Folkestone are expected to be back for pre-season training a couple of weeks ahead of their first big friendly against Gillingham on July 6th.