NEWPORT County AFC management consultant Lennie Lawrence believes Michael Flynn has the potential to manage at a higher level after a successful first 15 months as Exiles boss.

Lawrence first met Flynn in his role as co-director of the FAW Trust UEFA Pro license course and has been by his protégé’s side in an advisory role at County since March 2017.

After taking over as caretaker manager following the dismissal of Graham Westley, Flynn ensured the Exiles retained their Football League status before landing the job on a permanent basis in May last year.

And in his first full season in charge he guided the club to an 11th-place finish in League Two and to the fourth round of the FA Cup with the help of his assistant Wayne Hatswell and mentor Lawrence.

“When I went to Newport I wanted to do the very best I could for Newport but my number one priority was to get Michael the job permanently, because he had it to the end of the season then,” said Lawrence.

“The board of directors listened to me. We were doing quite well and I persuaded them to give it to him permanently three weeks before the end of the season.

“We still had three games to go but it meant everybody knew where they were then and it worked.

“Since then there’s been progress and there’s been another contract so I’m pleased with that.

“That’s got him on the managerial ladder and the next thing is to keep him on there and move him up a few rungs, if we can.”

Speaking at the 2018 FAW National Coaches Conference at Celtic Manor, Lawrence explained his approach when he first agreed to help out at Rodney Parade.

“The last two or three jobs I’d had were in the Championship and I have to confess that when I first went in there I looked at how they were doing it and I thought ‘blimey, I’ll have to change this and I’m not sure about that’ but just in time I stopped myself,” he said.

“If I had dived in and Michael had listened too much then he might have lost the rapport he had with the players.

“In the end the big question is are they going to play for you? Everything else is secondary.

“Are they going to go out and do absolutely everything they can in the remaining games? That’s what happened.”

Lawrence added: “This season was good for the first half and then we had the cup run and the game against Tottenham, which was a massive day for the club.

“In the first half of the first game at Newport our players produced performances individually and collectively that you wouldn’t have believed possible.

“The work-rate was phenomenal and what we caused them to do at half-time was to change the team and change their shape and bring the big hitters on, which eventually we paid for with Kane equalising.”

England captain Harry Kane cancelled out Padraig Amond’s opener to level the match with just eight minutes left on the clock and force a replay at Wembley, which County lost 2-0.

Flynn’s men won plenty of praise for the way they pushed Spurs all the way and Lawrence says that was down to the professional approach of Flynn and Hatswell.

He concluded: “However small a club you are, and Newport is a small club, you’ve always got to be as professional as you can and that means doing the best you can do, whatever the circumstances, for as much of the time as possible.

“That’s what it means; no matter how small you are you’ve still got to do it, within your resources, as best as you can.”