CAPTAIN Mark O’Brien says fans have seen the real Newport County AFC over the past six weeks and he’s confident they can claim the play-off place that they deserve.

The 2017 Great Escape hero popped up with another vital goal as County beat Oldham Athletic 2-0 on Tuesday night to move into the top seven for the first time in 130 days.

The win extended the Exiles’ unbeaten run to nine matches – their best run of form in League Two since 2014.

It means that Michael Flynn’s men will be guaranteed a place in the play-offs if they win their final game of the regular season at Morecambe on Saturday.

And O’Brien believes the momentum they’ve built up since the middle of March will see them get over the line this weekend.

“This last month or month and a half, it feels like the changing room is back buzzing again,” said the skipper.

“We’re going into each week full of confidence. We’ve stopped leaking goals and we’re starting to get goals now.

“We’ve come together. We always knew what we were capable of. We showed it in bits and pieces throughout the season.

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“But now we’ve got the confidence and momentum behind us, we’re on the up.

“It’s the least we deserve with the amount of effort we’ve put in this season,” he added.

“We’ve had some ups and downs but we’ve got a good group here and every single one of us have played a big part.”

That belief is strengthened by the experience of the Great Escape from relegation two years ago, which was sealed with a last-minute goal from O’Brien.

“It’s like I’ve been here for 10 or 15 years, rather than two,” said the 26-year-old Irishman, who was signed by Graham Westley in January 2017.

“It’s incredible what’s happened in those two years.

“We’ve gone from strength to strength and I’m just enjoying being a part of it.”

O’Brien has even revived the lucky beard, which was in full flow when he hit the headlines two years ago.

“My friends flew over from Dublin at the weekend and they were wondering why my beard was so long,” he said.

“I told them we’re on the same run as we were on two years ago and we’re pushing for something at the end of the season again so I’m just going to let it grow.

“And now the goal has come I think I’m going to have to keep it!”

But, lucky beard or no lucky beard, County’s hirsute hero is not taking the threat of Morecambe lightly.

“We’ve been counting down the cup finals, but we have to treat it like any other game,” he said.

“We can’t go into it thinking we’ve done the job. We know there’s still a game to go and it’s still all to play for.

“We’re relishing the fact that it’s in our hands and we’re not looking for favours elsewhere.

“It was the same two years ago and we dealt with it that day.

“We’re going to approach it in the exact same way. We’ll give it our all and hopefully it will be enough in the end.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves,” he added. “We have to keep our heads.

“We have to keep the same mentality and be resolute at the back, like we have been for the past few games.

“It’s in our hands now and it’s down to us to get the job done on the day.”

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