NEWPORT County AFC are confident of keeping hold of their loan stars and avoiding a repeat of last season’s costly January recalls.

The Exiles currently have four young prospects on loan for 2021/22 – midfielders Ollie Cooper (Swansea City), Finn Azaz (Aston Villa) and Jake Cain (Liverpool) plus forward Timmy Abraham (Fulham).

They are scheduled to be at Rodney Parade for the entire campaign but their parent clubs can recall them next month to boost their squads or if they fell their development would be better served elsewhere.

That happened last season when Scott Twine made such an impression that Swindon Town brought him back for their battle against League One relegation while Swansea City recalled defender Brandon Cooper to provide cover at the back.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Scott Twine was a hit at CountyINFLUENTIAL: Scott Twine was a hit at County

The loss of the duo played a part in derailing County’s season with Michael Flynn’s side going from setting the pace in League Two to rallying for a spot in the play-offs.

Sporting director Darren Kelly and new manager James Rowberry stay in touch with parent clubs and the Exiles are extremely hopeful that the bright prospects will continue their footballing education in Newport.

"We have some fantastic loan players in the building at the minute,” said Kelly, who was appointed last summer.

"I speak to the loan managers very regularly, I give them an update on things. James will build relationships as well and through that you build trust.

"Because of how well the young lads are doing, they are actually offering us other players."

Of the current quartet, Cooper has been a leading figure since heading east from Swansea while Azaz has been a regular under new manager Rowberry.

Cooper is joint second for assists in League Two after creating six goals while the 21-year-old has made 16 chances in 14 fixtures. He also scored the first goal of the post-Flynn era.

South Wales Argus: LIVELY: Finn Azaz is a growing influence for CountyLIVELY: Finn Azaz is a growing influence for County

Azaz has made 19 appearances (11 of them starts), scored against Barrow and Stevenage and provided an assist at Bristol Rovers.

The duo have been influential in the ‘pockets’ between midfield and attack with Rowberry confident that they will continue on an upward curve.

“We have to remember they are young. They are not the finished article and we are fortunate that Swansea and Aston Villa have sent them to us for me and the staff to develop them,” said the former Cardiff City first team coach.

“They are not the finished article and supporters need to be aware of that because they young, developing and have great futures in the game. They are talented and we will work with them.”

Cain and Abraham have been frequent members of the matchday squad but have not enjoyed as much game time.

The Liverpool midfielder has made seven League Two appearances (three starts), setting up the opener at Bristol Rovers, while the Fulham forward has come off the bench eight times and enjoyed three starts.

Abraham is yet to get off the mark in the league but scored the EFL Cup winner at Ipswich and against both Plymouth and Arsenal U21s in the EFL Trophy.