Cugley calls on favours to boost squad
- Thursday, 05 April 2012
- Written by Mick Cork
Experienced defender Lee Gledhill – who captained Invicta during his comparatively brief spell with the club a few years back – is the only definite inclusion for Saturday’s home game against Crawley Down out of four players signed by Neil Cugley and registered before last Saturday’s transfer deadline.
With Josh Vincent out for the rest of this season and his stand-in, versatile club captain Micheal Everitt, missing the two Easter games through suspension, a right full back was Cugley’s number one priority and the manager is delighted to have persuaded Gledhill to help him out – especially with finances at Cheriton Road apparently fully stretched at this moment.
Roland Edge and Simon Austin have now both left the club while top-scorer Stuart King is also banned for two more games leaving Cugley well down on numbers.
Relying very much on favours from pals like Tommy Warrilow and Tony Burman, Cugs had signed two players on dual registration from Warrilow’s Tonbridge Angels and one from Dartford on a similar basis – thanks to Burman.
But the Angels themselves have an injury crisis meaning that the two would-be recruits from Longmead certainly look to be ruled out for this weekend.
Invicta boss Cugs will today (Thursday) contact Darts manager Burman to see whether the forward involved in that move is likely to still be available, though that may even have to be a decision that waits till first thing on the morning of the Crawley Down clash.
Moves had been made to bring that match forward to tomorrow (Good Friday) – a switch that has proved beneficial several times in the past – and though the Sussex club had agreed to it, the idea was eventually vetoed by the Invicta board.
From memory, Folkestone have never lost on a Good Friday, usually attracting decent crowds with followers of other clubs in the county looking for something to do on what is traditionally one of the quietest sporting days of the year.
For Saturday, Gledhill is a definite starter while the ever-willing Roy Guiver looks likely to be on the bench as his current club, Ashford United, are without a game on Easter Saturday.
Recent signing Damian Abel is again expected to partner James Everitt up front after playing very well – but without too much luck - in last weekend’s morale-boosting victory at Worthing.
And Richard Atkins – back with Invicta after his loan spell at Sittingbourne – also impressed, scoring Folkestone’s goal in Mick Dix’s testimonial game on Monday – a 2-1 defeat by League Two Gillingham with the manager saying: “On that form, I’ll have no hesitation putting him in if we need to.”
But numbers could be more stretched for Monday’s short trip to Hythe – a fixture which some supporters surprisingly see as the be-all and end-all of the remainder of Invicta’s season.
Guiver cannot play against one of his former clubs because of other commitments, though, at this moment that may prove the only additional problem.
On the plus side, boss Cugley was pleased to report a clean bill of health with no further injuries from either the Gillingham game or last night’s training session ahead of the holiday weekend.
Neil said: “We trained hard and trained well, and that was particularly encouraging.”
Known as the Anvils, Crawley Down ended a run of four successive home defeats with a 3-3 draw against league leaders Bognor Regis last weekend, and clearly now have a better side than the one that slumped to the bottom of the table early this season – their first at Ryman League level following promotion as Sussex League champions 12 months ago.
The input of former Crawley Town and Horsham manager John Maggs’ has been a major factor with better and more experienced players added to the squad at the Haven Centre and the Anvils have won 10 games and drawn four in their first Ryman season, currently looking likely to finish out of the relegation scrap. At this moment they are 17th in the table with 34 points.
Midfielder/striker Luke Blewden started this campaign at Invicta Road, but struggled to hold down a place in the Invicta starting eleven and was allowed to leave because of limited chances at Cheriton Road.
His dozen goals have helped in the Down’s improvement and, no doubt, he’d love to add to that tally to try to prove a point against his most recent former club.
But Crawley Down have picked up only one point from their last five league games – their last victory an admittedly useful 3-2 win away to Corinthian Casuals two months ago.
Folkestone struggled to a 1-0 win on a poor pitch at The Haven Centre early in September – that game only decided by an unfortunate own goal!!
The home side should be in confident mood, however, after back-to-back wins against Walton Casuals and Worthing, and will be eager to continue their winning run.
Monday’s Shepway derby at Reachfields will see Scott Porter’s Town side itching to put the record straight after their 8-0 humiliation at Folkestone on Boxing Day.
That result was very much a one-off – enjoyed as much for its quality as for the unexpected margin of Folkestone’s win.
Stuart King’s four goals were a major factor on that day and, especially with the Ryman One top goalscorer missing, no-one in their right mind will expect anything similar.
Like Folkestone, Hythe are in reasonable form at the moment with 11 points from their last seven league campaigns, compared to Invicta’s 12.
“They’re not a bad side at all now” said Neil Cugley,“and they’ve got some good and experienced Ryman League players like the centre half (Nick Reeve) and (Nick) Barnes in midfield – plus others we know even better like Jimmy Dryden and one or two more.
“Like us, they (Hythe) do appear to be a bit inconsistent, though I’ve no doubt Scott (Porter) will have them well pumped up to play against us - especially after that result at our place on Boxing Day” said Neil.
“Yes, okay, we’ve got a few problems, but we’ll go into the game with a positive attitude.
“You can say that we’ll be going there to really give it a go!”
Last Updated on Friday, 06 April 2012 08:26