Hythe discover win with captain Cook
INSPIRATIONAL midfielder Darren Smith has a sneaky feeling Folkestone Invicta could be about to pull off a play-off shock.
Smith, 34, tasted promotion glory in 2010 at Cheriton Road but it's a far tougher ask this time.
The Ryman One South is as strong as it's ever been with big-spending Whitehawk, Dulwich Hamlet and Bognor Regis all fighting for the title.
But Smith is quietly confident Invicta might be able to upset whichever one they face on Tuesday night.
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He said: "Sometimes it's not the best teams who win the play-offs but the bravest. Whatever has gone before means nothing now and you're all on an even keel.
"I have a feeling we might be able to surprise a few people – I think we can do it.
"A lot of the boys have been in play-offs before and that helps. We're not under any pressure to win the thing while teams like Whitehawk are very ambitious and have gone and said they want league football – we're not like that.
"All the while we're playing decent football and getting decent results people at the club are happy, which is a great situation to be in.
"Bognor have the memory of an unsuccessful play-off campaign last year when they stormed the league all season. Godalming have too, when we beat them in 2010.
"We haven't flashed a load of money around and we've just quietly gone about our business.
"I never thought we'd win the league, especially with our budget, and Cugs (Neil Cugley) has always said just go out there and play without pressure which we have done. We've delivered in the big games before – in the two games against Hythe, the two against Whitehawk and our must-win one against Maidstone – and got wins.
"Can we do it again? I don't see why we can't."
Invicta manager Cugley believes his team will end up playing Bognor. Smith agrees.
He said: "I feel we'll play Bognor. Both games we've played against them have been really open and enjoyable games to play in. We respect them but I don't think we fear them, there's no reason to fear anyone.
"We've had our blip this season and come out of it but even then we were slipping up against the lower sides. Our records against the teams at the top has been good.
"Bognor – and Dulwich – are proper non-league grounds so it'll be a big occasion, which is what you want as a player."
And Smith believes that momentum will make Invicta a hard team to stop.
He said: "We've won our last six, which couldn't have come at a better time. Everyone has clubbed together and a lot of that is down to Cugs.
"He's brought in players like Gleds (Lee Gledhill) when it really counts and I don't think there's many managers who could pull off something like that.
"It's hard to say why we've managed to pull performances out every time but we have a 'we can do it' mentality in the camp – and hopefully we can."