NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn has rubbished rumours that January signing Josh Sheehan has suffered a setback in his return from a serious knee injury.

Sheehan was County’s joint-top goalscorer last season before his successful loan spell from Swansea City was ended by an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury 12 months ago.

After completing his rehabilitation with the Swans in December, Sheehan returned to Rodney Parade on a permanent deal in January but has so far been restricted to just three appearances.

The 22-year-old has been an unused substitute for the last five matches and Flynn hit out at rumours circulating about the player’s fitness online.

“Contrary to some silly remarks that I’ve been made aware of, Josh Sheehan has not broken down in training,” said the Exiles boss.

“He’s fully fit and we just need to know when to introduce him into a match situation because it’s one thing being fully fit [but it’s another thing being match-fit].

“You could easily say that in order for him to get match-fitness he needs matches but we have matches behind closed doors, we have training matches and we’re getting him up to a level where we can see that he’s ready to go and produce his best football.

“If he’s not ready to produce his best football I don’t think that’s fair on the player, or the rest of the team.”

Flynn added: “Once he does get fully fit he’s going to be a great asset for us and it’s annoying that there’s a certain few out there who are trying to sabotage what we’ve done this season.

“I can’t understand it because I’m a Newport boy through and through and I always want to see the team do well so spreading false, inaccurate rumours to the detriment of the football club and to my playing staff is [not on]. To me they’re not real fans.”

South Wales Argus:

Sheehan also reiterated that he’s fit and ready to show what he can do against Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday night.

“I’ve recovered well since the injury,” said the Pembrey playmaker.

“One of my relatives sent me something with people saying I was breaking down in training but that’s a load of rubbish, to be honest.

“Since my injury I haven’t had any niggles. I’ve worked really hard through my rehab in the gym to make sure I don’t get any hamstring injuries or quad injuries. It’s a load of rubbish.

“I’m doing everything I can to get in the team. I’m knocking on the gaffer’s door but it’s his decision now and when I get that chance I’ve got to take it.

“I don’t understand where it’s come from,” he added.

“If they’d watched training [they’d see] I’ve been good, I’ve been sharp and I’m just waiting and biding my time and making sure I’m at the top of my game.

“I want to make sure I come back as good as I was last season – scoring goals – and hopefully I can do that as soon as I get into the team.”

Sheehan says he has discussed his situation with the manager.

“It’s the gaffer’s decision to pick the team and if he feels that’s the strongest team at the moment that’s the team he’ll pick,” he said.

“I’m patiently waiting and as soon as I get that chance I’m going to take it. “No player wants to be out of the team and if you do then you shouldn’t be a footballer.

“I’m going to keep knocking on his door if I’m not playing and that’s what every footballer should do because you want to reach the best level you can and you do that by playing games.

“Everyone’s main concern is not to rush me back but I feel like I’m ready and we’ll just have to wait and see.

“I’ve trained every single session and done extra running myself at home so I’m ready and waiting.

“I want hit the heights I did last season and even better,” he added.

“That’s just a minimum last season and I want to go again.”

Fellow midfielder Matty Dolan should be OK to play on Tuesday despite breaking his nose in training during the week but striker Padraig Amond is a doubt due to a dental abscess.