ROBBIE Willmott believes manager Michael Flynn has managed to revive the spirit of the 2013 promotion season at Newport County AFC.

The pair were teammates as County finished third in the Conference before going on to win the play-off final at Wembley four years ago.

And, after an unbeaten start to the League Two campaign, Willmott sees similarities between Justin Edinburgh’s promotion-winning squad and the current crop at Rodney Parade.

“It’s been a brilliant start to the season,” said the 27-year-old ahead of Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Exeter City.

“The whole club is buzzing now. It’s probably the best I’ve seen the club since we got promoted.

“The team that got promoted was so close together. The bond was strong and it’s the same this year.

“The team spirit is there and everyone is together. It’s all positive.

“We’ve just got to keep our standards high as a group now and keep the results coming.”

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Asked how Flynn compares to Edinburgh (above with the Exiles boss), who left the Exiles in 2015 and was sacked by League One Northampton Town earlier today, Willmott said: “In some ways he is similar. His man-management skills are quite similar.

“He helps players along when they need it but if someone needs a kick he gives them that.

“The gaffer has done a great job. Not only has he brought in good players with ability, he’s also brought in good characters as well from the coaching staff to the players.

“I’ve known him since he was a player and he helped me a lot on the pitch as well as off the pitch so I know what type of person he is.

“He’s helping everyone along. With the young lads he takes them under his wing and pulls them to the side when they need it so he’s doing a fantastic job, as results and performances are showing.

“I think he’s only going to get better as well because he’s got a great management team behind him.”

As well as similarities in the spirit and management styles at Rodney Parade, Willmott has also noted a lot of changes since he returned to the club this summer after two years away.

“When I came back I didn’t realise how much the club had changed off the pitch,” he admitted.

“It’s changed massively for the better. It’s a lot more professional now and there’s a lot more things that have been put in place to help the club.

“The training ground is brilliant. We were training at the school before but now we’ve got amazing facilities and it’s benefiting everyone.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised and it’s all going in the right direction.

“We were in good positions before when we got to January but we didn’t strengthen at the right times,” he added.

“But when you see the training ground that we’ve got now the morale remains high.

“And the food that we have after training and on the way to games is a lot better – all the preparation is put in place for us and all we have to worry about is the result.

“Everything is in place now for us to try to kick on.”

But are Flynn’s men genuine promotion candidates?

“It’s too early to talk about that, especially with the team being in a relegation battle last year,” said Willmott.

“No-one expected us to go and do what we’re doing now.

“I think everyone expected us to struggle but you have to wait until after Christmas to see what position we’re in and see how the results are going and then we’ll see if we are contenders.”