NEWPORT County AFC could have another Wales international on their hands in Liam Shephard, believes the flying wing-back’s former boss.

The 26-year-old from Rhondda Cynon Taf is set to return from suspension to face his old side when the Exiles entertain Forest Green Rovers on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).

He was released last summer by the Gloucestershire club, who boast the exciting Udoka Godwin-Malife down their flank, but has been a huge hit since heading to Rodney Parade.

Shephard has made 30 appearances and his energy and creativity down the right side was pivotal to the Exiles’ superb first half of the season.

His importance to Michael Flynn’s side has been shown by their struggles for a spark while he has been sidelined after a dismissal at Harrogate for a rash challenge.

Shephard, who is following in the footsteps of father Garry and brother Corey by representing the Exiles, came through the Swansea City academy.

Cameron Toshack, his former coach at the Liberty Stadium, believes Shephard could mirror the exploits of Josh Sheehan, who was capped against the USA in November.

South Wales Argus: INFLUENTIAL: Liam Shephard has been pivotal in Newport's promotion challengeINFLUENTIAL: Liam Shephard has been pivotal in Newport's promotion challenge

“Playing as a right wing-back suits Liam – he loves to go forward and is very similar to [Swansea and Wales defender] Connor Roberts,” said Toshack.

“I do think that he could become a Welsh international if he continues the way that he has been playing, there is no doubt in my mind.

“Liam adds that extra dimension higher up the pitch and he is very good physically. He is a front-foot defender who can affect games if Wales want to play that way.

“If he continues to perform at a high level then he will raise some eyebrows and get into that conversation for the Wales squad in the future, and I am sure that is on his mind.”

Sheehan is out of contract this summer while Shephard was signed on a one-year deal after being “messed about” by other clubs.

The duo are sure to have been watched closely by those at a higher level with Toshack believing they have the ability to step up, even if County fall short in their promotion bid.

South Wales Argus: HONOUR: Newport's Josh Sheehan played for Wales against the USA in the autumnHONOUR: Newport's Josh Sheehan played for Wales against the USA in the autumn

“When Josh and Liam were at Swansea the club was in the Premier League and it was really difficult to break through,” he said.

“They were playing very well, it’s just unfortunate that they didn’t get the opportunity whereas if they had been at the club when [now Brighton boss] Graham Potter was at the club, they might have had that chance.

“They are both very capable footballers and it wouldn’t surprise me if they went up to a higher level, and Michael Flynn deserves credit for getting them playing in this manner.”

Wales start their World Cup qualifying campaign next month against Belgium and the County duo’s chances of being included in the squad could well be hit by the Rodney Parade surface, with Sheehan less of an influence in the tough conditions.

The Exiles have moved their clash with second-placed Forest Green to Sunday (kick-off 1pm) from Saturday.

The shift is because of a combination of the Dragons’ Guinness PRO14 encounter with Leinster on Friday and a poor weather forecast.

The Exiles have already had four postponements this season – Exeter, Southend and Carlisle in Newport and the trip to Port Vale – and have little room for manoeuvre in the hectic fixture list.

Michael Flynn’s side have 19 games left to play in the 11 weeks leading up to their finale against Southend at Roots Hall.