AND so it rumbles on. It feels like the Michael Flynn-to-Shrewsbury Town rumours have been going longer than the Brexit negotiations.

Online panic about a potential Flexit reached fever pitch yesterday as bookmakers slashed the odds on the Newport County AFC manager replacing John Askey as the next Shrews boss.

At the time of writing he was the odds-on favourite at 1/5 to move to the New Meadow, way ahead of Wrexham’s Sam Ricketts, caretaker boss Danny Coyne and the unattached trio of Kevin Nolan, Gary Bowyer and Paul Hurst in the betting.

That seemingly decisive movement in the market led some County fans, understandably, to conclude that Flynn going was a done deal.

Rumours of an imminent club statement began to circulate on messageboards and social media and they were picked up and recirculated amongst Shrewsbury fans eager for news on their possible new man.

After initially insisting that they would say nothing on the matter, the County board eventually concluded that it was best to try to throw some cold water on the fire.

The club statement, issued at around 4pm yesterday, read: “Newport County AFC is aware of rumours in the media regarding its manager Michael Flynn.

“The club can confirm that it has not received any formal approach from any other club.

“The club’s board has made known its intention to continue to support the manager in strengthening the squad in the January transfer window.

“Michael, his staff and players are focused on tomorrow night’s important Sky Bet League Two game with the visit of Northampton Town.”

Hopefully that has calmed a few nerves amongst the Exiles fan-base, although the exact wording does leave a little to be desired.

By specifying that there has been no formal approach it leaves open the possibility that there may have been an informal approach.

And, of course, if and when there is a formal approach the club will not be able to do much if Flynn decides that he’d like to listen to what the League One outfit have to say.

The only way that the rumours are going to go away is if Shrewsbury approach another candidate or Flynn categorically rules himself out of the running.

And he’s refused to do that so far, in public at least.

The 38-year-old initially said it was “flattering” to be linked to club in a higher division and revealed his long-term ambition to manage at the highest level.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I’m going to stay at Newport for the rest of my life. I want to manage in the Premier League,” he said on November 16.

The following day, after the impressive 2-0 home win over Colchester United, he added: “Nothing’s gone officially to the club and I’m sure if there had been the club would have told me.

“I’m just carrying on and doing my job. If an approach goes in then it’s up to the club to deal with that.

“But I genuinely haven’t heard anything so it’s business as usual for me.”

And when asked about the links again before Saturday’s disappointing defeat at Cheltenham Town, Flynn said: “I’ve not heard anything and my agent hasn’t heard anything.

“I’m manager of Newport, I’m very happy and I’m concentrating on the two big games we’ve got coming up. There's nothing more to say.”

He could, however, kill the story if he stated that he intends to stay at his hometown club until at least the end of the season.

Flynn has been sensibly diplomatic thus far but that would go a long way to ending the speculation.

County performed brilliantly in the second half to overcome Colchester and I don’t believe the poor performance at Cheltenham can be blamed on the chatter around the manager’s position.

But, while the club insists it is business as usual at Rodney Parade, the rumours certainly don’t help matters and they give fans a stick to beat the manager with if things don’t go to plan.

It’s another big week for the club with tonight’s League Two home clash with a resurgent Northampton Town followed by the televised grudge match against Welsh rivals Wrexham in the FA Cup second round on Saturday night.

And, if the Shrews link really is merely speculation, the sooner the story is put to bed the better it will be for all concerned.

Flynn, his coaching staff and the players cannot afford to let anything distract them from collecting another three points tonight and securing a place in the FA Cup third round at the weekend.