Boss Neil Cugley believes Folkestone has been in the best position the club has been in for decades.

Cugley’s men are once again flying high towards the top of the Isthmian Prime Minister and entered the second qualifying round of the FA Cup, where they will meet opponents from the lower league.

Folkestone director Neil Cugley. Photo: Barry Goodwin

Things are going well off the pitch as well. Their two Championship fixtures at Cheriton Road this season have drawn a combined total of 1,675 fans, and Cugley is keen for another healthy participation when they host Horsham on Saturday.

The longtime manager, who first took office in 1997, said: “It was one of the best times we have had at the club in decades.

“We are in a very good position. The pitch is great, the bar is nice and we hope to have some new projectors soon.

“There is the other pressure that goes with it. As a coach it’s great, but the fans came to see your team win, so you have to win to keep them happy.

“But I would rather have that kind of pressure than to have fewer fans there.”

Kieron McCann is about to be sidelined following an operation.  Photo: Andy Jones
Kieron McCann is about to be sidelined following an operation. Photo: Andy Jones

Folkestone’s finances got another boost last weekend when they won at Corinthian 3-2 in the FA Cup with forward Ade Yusuff, Ronnie Dolan and Alfie Paxman on target, earning the club 2,250 £ prize money.

They were withdrawn to Ashford Town (Middlesex) from the Isthmian South Central in the next round.

Ashford was previously in the same league as Folkestone but it has been some time since the clubs last met.

Cugley said: “Obviously we’ll have them watched. It’s pretty open ground that they have.

“It would have been a very good draw at home, but away from home it’s still a very good draw.

“There are some really tough teams in the National League South now – like Dartford, Maidstone and Ebbsfleet – so we must be delighted to have a league team below.”

For now, however, third-place Invicta is once again focusing on the league’s issues.

Dominic Di Paola’s Horsham lost his first two league games but has since beaten Merstham and drew Lewes before a 1-1 FA Cup draw with Haywards Heath.

Cugley said: “Horsham are a very good team. I don’t think they will be too far.

“I think they’re bringing some fans as well, so I’m looking forward to it. The more we can maintain our invincibility, the better.

“They will be well organized and have experienced players at this level, some having played for Burgess Hill and others at Dorking.”

Aaron Simpson is likely to remain unavailable after having had Covid for a long time and winger Kieron McCann is expected to be sidelined following surgery.

Cugley added: “This will keep him outside until the end of October, but he’s a fit boy so I’m not too worried.”

Folkestone will travel to East Thurrock on Tuesday.

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent


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