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GOOD EVANS, WE'VE GOT JACK - BUT CUGS STILL NEEDLED AT LOSING DEFENDER IN SECOND DEAL OF LAST WEEK

Experienced midfielder Jack Evans in action for Margate - below, Jerald Aboagye is still undecided over staying with Folkestone for a second season 

It was one out of two for Invicta boss Neil Cugley as he tried to seal deals with two of his main targets ahead of Folkestone Invicta’s forthcoming Bostik Premier Division season as they try to build on last season’s unexpected – but, as the season progressed totally deservedly successful campaign in 2017/18.

Incoming to The Fullicks Stadium is 25-year-old midfielder Jack Evans, a player with plenty of experience of football at the higher levels, who spent last season with our arch Kent rivals Margate.

Changes in the management structure prompted the departure of four senior players from Hartsdown Park with the former Gillingham trainee among them.

Jack adds a bit more steel in the middle of the park for Folkestone where he will be playing alongside the likes of Micheal Everitt, Kieron McCann and Sam Hasler and he can also play at the back if needed.

Born in Gravesend, Evans joined the Gills at just seven years old and progressed though the ranks to sign his first professional contract in February 2011, making his first team debut early the following season.

He made eight senior appearances for the Priestfield club under manager Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen as well as enjoying a loan spell with Conference South Lewes.

Situation

The unsettled managerial situation at Priestfield around that time saw plenty of changes at the Gills and Jack moved on to play for a number of good Conference level clubs including Welllng United and Dartford.

In 2013/14 he moved to the Midlands to join Conference National Tamworth where he played 37 senior games.

Returning to his native south east, Jack had spells with Sutton United and Eastbourne Borough before switching to our old friends Maidstone United where he became good friends with current Invicta captain Callum Davies, who was just one of those who recommended him to Neil Cugley.

Cugs said: “Yes – Callum says he’s good, but then he would do as they’re pretty good mates!

“Seriously, I’m delighted to have signed someone who has played as much as he has as decent levels of non-league football, and his ability to play in a couple of positions should make him an excellent addition to our squad.”

But while Cugley was understandably upbeat about the capture of Evans, he admitted to being “very disappointed” by failing to sign Hythe Town’s supporters’ player of the year last year when defender Ryan Johnson pulled out of a move up the road after the deal looked cut and dried that he was all set to become a Folkestone player.

“He’s got a lot of the qualities I want in a player, and I really believed the deal was done when I saw him in the middle of last week. I’d been up and down the motorways getting players to sign and when I got home from talking to him last week, I got a load of texts saying that he as ‘buzzing’ and really looking forward to joining us.

Overnight

“But he changed his mind almost overnight and has decided to go elsewhere. To say I’m disappointed is  an understatement – but I guess that’s one of the so-called joys of being a football manager.

Johnson,  has, apparently  has since signed for  Bostik Division One South East Grinstead.

“It’s the way things go at times” mused the Folkestone manager showing great restraint and adopting an admriable philosophical point of view and musing that  he could have spent that time so much better.

“I’m still talking to several other players so we’ll see if anything comes from that, but we’ve got 90 per cent of the squad I want now in place so I’m not too worried.

“We can probably wait until pre-season starts and see how we do in some of the bigger friendlies we’ve got lined up for the end of next month.”nt 

Meanwhile defender/midfielder Jerald Aboagye has still not given Invicta a final decision over whether he will be at the Fullicks when the season begins on August 11th.

“We’ve offered him as much as we’re going to, but he was asking a lot more than that” said Cugley. “He’s told me that he’s been offered that somewhere else, so we’ll wait to see what he does.

“I’d like to see him stay, but the ball’s in his court and it’ll be his decision one way or the other.”