Boss Neil Cugley insists teenager Tyler Sterling still has a future in Folkestone – despite joining Hythe on a month-long loan.

Cugley places great importance on forward Sterling, who has been through the club’s Under-18s, and hopes he will have a consistent playing time with the Cannons in South East Isthmus.

Folkestone striker Tyler Sterling has joined Hythe on a month-long loan. Image: Randolph File

He had previously raised concerns about the 19-year-old’s attitude, but says it has improved dramatically since then – and now Cugley wants him to improve his fitness.

Last night Sterling made his Hythe debut as a second-half substitute in his 2-1 win at Faversham.

Cugley said: “He was a little bit unlucky. The Covid came at the wrong time for him.

“He’s a boy who has all the potential. He’s one of the most skillful players I’ve had, I think, but there are areas of his game that he needs to improve.

“His application is improving and now he needs to get back in shape. It is definitely part of our accounts.

“All the managers said the same about him. He must have a good attitude and be in good physical shape. His attitude has improved endlessly and now he needs to get back in shape.

“But I’m sure Steve Watt (Hythe’s manager) knows what he’s doing with him. There was always an arrangement that we would let Tyler go out if he wasn’t playing games on a regular basis.

“We would have done it earlier but we stayed in the FA Cup.

“But now that we are out of the FA Cup, we thought it was the right time to do it.”

Sterling was an unused replacement in Folkestone’s 2-1 FA Trophy win over Hendon on Saturday, although goalkeeper Tim Roberts returned to the squad while Kieron McCann completed his first 90 minutes since April after recovering a recent knee problem.

Man of the Match Scott Heard and forward Ade Yusuff scored Invicta’s goals.

Reflecting on the victory at Cheriton Road, Cugley said Monday: “We did a job.

“We’ve played a lot of games recently so I was just relieved to win. We did enough but we weren’t at our best.

“But we recently faced Bognor Regis and Kingstonian (in the league), as well as the FA Cup games against Eastleigh. They are great games.

“They’re not robots so I’m pretty happy for the players.

“Sometimes we did well on Saturday, but we didn’t do well enough for a long enough period.

“But overall we’re just relieved. I’m happy for the players.

Roberts replaced Alexis Andre Jr, who has a hamstring problem, while Jordan Wright has a leg injury. Both failed fitness tests before the Hendon game.

Wright returned to his starting lineup for his Premier Isthmian home game against Hornchurch last night, which ended scoreless despite Rickie Hayles being sent off from Hornchurch, although Wright was out before half-time.

Cugley said: “It’s a crazy November.

“By the end of November we would have played 17 league games and can start looking at the standings a lot more. “

The victory over Hendon marked Roberts’ first game between the sticks for Folkestone since September 25, with the shooter suffering from a hamstring problem.

Cugley said: “He was excellent.

“I have three really good goalies – I think of Connor Collins a lot. Although he is only young, I like him very much.

“Sometimes you think you need to fix the problem, but the problem resolves itself. Tim did well.

“He had a great save when it was 1-1 so I’m happy with him. “

Folkestone was drawn at home against Faversham in the first round of the FA Trophy, which will be played next Saturday.

They are heading to Cheshunt this Saturday and Carshalton on Monday.

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent


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