IT’S been a quiet week at Rodney Parade but everyone at Newport County AFC will have been delighted to follow the progress of academy stars Jay Foulston and Lewis Collins as they represented Wales under-19s in Slovakia.

Centre-back Foulston, who turned 17 in November, scored the only goal as Wales beat Hungary on Thursday.

And Collins, who celebrated his 17th birthday last week, was Wales’ biggest attacking threat as Paul Bodin’s young side finished sixth in the Slovakia Cup after defeat to Ukraine on Friday.

The duo’s impressive displays for their country came just a few days after fellow Wales under-19 international Momodou Touray made his senior debut for the Exiles as a substitute in the final match of the season at Carlisle United.

County manager Michael Flynn will hope that those three and fellow academy graduate Tom Owen-Evans, who has returned from his successful loan spell at Truro City, can show they are worth a regular place in the match day squad next season.

Not only would that save him time and money in the transfer market over the next few months but it could provide the club with a financial lifeline over the next few seasons.

After news emerged last month that County had reported a loss of £350,000 for the 2016-2017 season I stated my belief that the club, currently funded entirely by the Supporters Trust, is in need of outside investment.

And the directors have now publicly acknowledged the problems with the current ownership model in the published minutes of April’s board meeting.

They said: “All directors agreed that the financial shortcomings of the current model needed to be communicated to all Trust members/owners at the next supporters’ meeting in May.

“Cup runs and transfer incomes are merely plugging the gap created by these shortcomings and this needed to be addressed.”

County posted a profit of £340,000 for the year to June 2016 as a result of the sales of Regan Poole to Manchester United, Aaron Collins to Wolverhampton Wanderers and a hefty sell-on fee as Conor Washington moved from Peterborough United to Queens Park Rangers.

They also expect to be back in the black for 2017-2018 thanks to the remarkable run to the fourth round of the FA Cup and a further payment in relation to Lee Evans’ move from Wolverhampton Wanderers to Sheffield United.

But, as the board admits, cup runs and player sales cannot be relied upon and unless a new benefactor can be found it likely they will need to ask the fans to dig deeper into their pockets.

The continued progress of talented youngsters like Touray, Foulston and Lewis Collins (below) would certainly help matters, however.

South Wales Argus:

Exeter City, another fan-owned club, have shown that investment in youth can pay dividends over recent years.

The Grecians, who are involved in the League Two play-offs this week, have made more than £3.5m during the past two transfer windows alone.

“That's the way it works here, we have to produce our own players,” Exeter manager Paul Tisdale told the BBC.

Arran Pugh, Exeter’s academy operations manager, added: “The club values young players and will give them a chance.

“The club here are very sensible and they look at the long term, they're happy to bring players through and have had a lot of success off the back of it.”

Exiles boss Flynn played a big part in the progress of Poole and Aaron Collins when they came through the club’s academy and he’s shown that he is prepared to give youngsters a chance to impress.

But he’s reluctant to throw them in at the deep end before they are ready.

“I’m all for promoting youth; they’ve just got to be good enough,” he said after the Carlisle match.

And his comments before the long trip to Cumbria suggest that the rest are not yet up to standard.

“I won’t be playing our youth players, they aren’t good enough, they are way off,” said Flynn.

“Modou [Touray] will be involved, I don’t class him and Jay as youth team players now, but the others have got a long way to go.

“I’d like to be in a position where we can put a lot of youth in but we’re not.

“I don’t think it’s fair on the youth team boys who are not ready if I did that. It could be more detrimental to their progression.”

It’s clear then that we won’t see a major influx of youth into the County team any time soon but if the likes of Foulston and Touray can make the step up next season they could become major assets and help keep the show on the road.