Vinnie deserves his place in the squad says boss
Youngster Ryan Philpott could make something of a surprise start for Invicta in their final warm-up game of the season against Tonbridge Angels at Cheriton Road on Saturday.
The 18-year-old youth team striker has made arguably as much of an impact as anyone in the five pre-season games so far and impressed when he filled in at right back during Tuesday’s comfortable 4-1 victory over Kent Invicta League Ashford United.
“He’s had a very good pre-season and has definitely got himself a place in the squad” said manager Neil Cugley. “He’s done just about everything we’ve asked of him and did well again against Ashford.”
First choice right back Lee Gledhill is again working with the Police in London this weekend, but will be available for the start of the league programme against Worthing on August 18. So youngster Philpott, known as ‘Vinnie’, after Vinnie Jones, for his determined tackling is expected to take over the number two shirt with Liam Dickson switching to left back.
James Everitt is settling back well into a midfield role as Folkestone eventually outplayed Paul Chambers’ useful Ashford side in a game which saw a first Invicta hat-trick for the skilful Darren Marsden – including two first half penalties - and a well-taken first goal of this season from top scorer Stuart King.
“I’ve been very pleased with the pre-season games” said Cugley. “Even though we lost at Margate that was probably as good a work out as we’ve had and Tonbridge will be another very tough test.
“I’ve been talking to Tommy (Warrilow, the Angels manager). He says they are very strong now and will be bringing everyone down on Saturday so I’m very much looking forward to it.
“We really don’t want any injuries because of the size of the squad so I’ll be relieved at five o’clock on Saturday if we’ve come through it without any further knocks. Jonesey (striker Paul Jones) got a bit of a whack on Tuesday, but he’d play if this was a league game so wants to play in this one.”
And there was praise for centre back Liam Friend who has been handed the captaincy this season.
“Friendy has been outstanding in pre-season and the responsibility of taking over the captaincy seems to have added something to his game” said the boss.
And hat-trick hero Marsden does seem to have solved Folkestone’s penalty problems, smacking home his second and third spot-kicks of a pre-season run that has seen him score four times already.
“With Ratty doing well back in midfield, it’s allowed us to find a slightly different role for Marzo that seems to suit him better” added Neil.
Josh Vincent has still not had the results of a scan on his groin while Darren Smith is still away and also misses the start of the season proper.
Tonbridge – now in Blue Square South - represent the highest level of opposition Folkestone have faced in this pre-season programme.
They have so far lost to Dartford, Maidstone, Ebbsfleet and Crawley Town as well as drawing 0-0 against Blyth Spartans.
Wins have come against Bedlington Terriers and Concord Rangers as well as a 2-1 victory against a Charlton Xl.
Their squad again includes former Gillingham and Dover players such as Frannie Collin, Lee Browning and Danny Walden as well one ex-Invicta midfielder Robbie Kember.
Kick-off at Cheriton Road is 3pm.