NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn believes academy graduate Lewis Collins can follow in the footsteps of his older brother Aaron and enjoy a career in the EFL – “if he wants it badly enough.”

Lewis Collins has shown glimpses of what he can do in five first-team appearances for County to date and this season looks like it could be his breakthrough campaign.

The 18-year-old forward made his League Two debut as a late substitute against Crewe Alexandra in August.

He also made an appearance in the Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham United later that month and he scored his first goal in September’s Trophy tie against the Hammers’ under-21s.

Collins was named in the Exiles match-day squad for a seventh time this season at Colchester United last Saturday.

And he would have made more appearances if it hadn’t been for a minor injury and his international commitments with Wales under-19s.

South Wales Argus:

Flynn is excited by Collins’ potential, having also coached him in the academy, but he’s warned the talented teenager that he needs to be ready both physically and mentally before he can push for a starting spot.

“Lewis had a bit of bad luck when he got injured and he needs to work harder, day in and day out, but he’s a very good talent,” said the Exiles boss.

“If he wants it badly enough then I’m sure he’ll be an exciting player in the future.

“It’s not going to be easy for him, but if he’s doing the business day in and day out [in training] and I think he’s doing better than Padraig Amond or Jamille Matt then he’ll get his chance.

“They’re different players but I’ve put him on already and he’s someone I’ve known for a long time.

“I played him in the under-18s when he was 14 so I know there’s a talent there.

“But he’s got to be right mentally as well and he’s getting there.”

South Wales Argus:

Aaron Collins (above) scored three goals in 35 appearances for his hometown club during two spells between 2014 and 2018.

A January 2016 move to Wolverhampton Wanderers didn’t work out, but he is now proving himself to be a dangerous League Two striker after a series of underwhelming loan moves.

The 22-year-old enjoyed an excellent spell with Morecambe at the end of last season, scoring eight goals in 15 appearances to help them stave off the threat of relegation to the National League.

That form earned him a move to promotion hopefuls Forest Green Rovers in the summer and, after a slow start, he’s finding his feet at the New Lawn.

Collins has scored three times in nine league games for Rovers, making it 11 goals in his last 24 appearances in the fourth tier.

Lewis Collins has a little way to go before he can match those figures and he’s currently behind Amond, Matt, Tristan Abrahams and Dominic Poleon in the pecking order, with Ade Azeez also due to return from injury before too long.

But, with County scoring just 16 goals in 15 league games, there is an opportunity for one or more of the forwards to break into the starting XI and provide the team with the cutting edge that has been missing so far this season.

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