BOSS Michael Flynn has challenged Newport County striker Padraig Amond to show Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy over the next week why he is worthy of winning a first international cap at senior level.

Striker Amond, 30, discovered earlier this week that he had been included in McCarthy’s provisional Irish squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibraltar and Georgia later this month.

With 21 goals so far this season, Carlow-born Amond has already staked a claim to potentially play a part in the double-header, with McCarthy cutting his party from 38 to 22 or 23 in eight days.

But with three League Two fixtures in Exiles colours before then, County chief Flynn believes more impressive displays would only enhance Amond’s hopes of making the final group.

“I am extremely proud of him,” said Flynn, whose side go to Colchester United today (kick-off 3pm).

“It’s nothing short of what he deserves.

“He’s going to work with a fantastic manager in Mick McCarthy, and it goes to show any professional footballers out there that they shouldn’t give up on their dream.

“Padraig has shown at the age of 30 that you can get an international call-up, and hopefully he will get into the final squad because I’m sure he’ll score goals for them.

“He’s one of the best professionals I’ve come across in my career, playing and managing.

“He’s a fantastic lad, he’s got a lovely family that I’ve been lucky enough to meet, and I’m sure they had a few celebratory drinks over in Carlow.”

He added: “Let’s hope he gets into the final squad because it will be a moment he will never forget.

“If I think he’s pulling out of tackles or anything like that to protect himself then he’ll be sat next to me, and that won’t do him any good.

“I don’t think at all he will do that, but there’s a little warning for him straight away.

“The best thing to do is go to the Ireland camp on a high having scored a few goals before he gets there because it will keep him full of confidence and allow him to express himself more among international players.”

If he does get selected for the final squad then it would mean the Irishman missing the visit of Oldham Athletic to Rodney Parade on March 23.

But that’s not a concern for Flynn, who said: “I’d never try and hold him back representing his country.

“It’s one of the proudest moments anybody could have in their life, never mind in football, so I’ll be fully supportive of him.

“And it gives somebody else a chance to step up and put some pressure on Podge for when he does come back.”

County, 12th in League Two, face eighth-placed Colchester today, travel to Northampton Town next Tuesday and then host Cheltenham Town three days later.