NEWPORT County AFC midfielder Lewis Collins has been called up by Wales Under-21s along with former Exile Brandon Cooper.

Collins will aim to win his second cap against the Republic of Ireland in Wrexham a week on Friday (kick-off 1pm) after he made his international bow in Belgium last year.

The 19-year-old, who has made 11 appearances for Michael Flynn’s side, four of them starts, suffered an ankle injury when he was with Wales in October.

County have already postponed their League Two clash with Scunthorpe next weekend because of international call-ups for Josh Sheehan, Tom King and Luke Gambin.

Cooper, who was hugely influential in the promotion-chasing Exiles’ superb first half of the campaign before being recalled from his loan by Swansea City, is the most experienced member of the Paul Bodin’s squad that features 11 uncapped players.

The centre-back suffered an ankle injury on his return to the Swans but returned for the club’s under-23s last week, playing 90 minutes against Ipswich Town.

Cooper was an unused substitute in the 3-1 Championship loss to Bristol City at the Liberty Stadium before his comeback and hopes to push for action for Steve Cooper’s side in the coming weeks.

“It was great to be back out there playing football and doing what I love after my injury,” he said. “It’s good to get 90 minutes under my belt.

“The gaffer told me to do that and give myself a chance to be in contention for some minutes for the first team over the rest of the season.

“I’m going to do everything I can to get my chance with the first team and, when it comes, I’m going to take it.”

But next week Cooper will have the Irish in his sights at Colliers Park as Wales prepare for the Euro 2023 qualifiers that start in June.

Wales have been drawn alongside the Netherlands, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Moldova and Gibraltar in Group E.

A host of players – included County full-back Aaron Lewis – finished their age-grade career last year.

After making the step up to their senior club sides this season, Dan Barden, Fin Stevens and Rubin Colwill will look to win their first caps in the 23-player squad.

The match will be streamed on the FAW Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Wales U21: Lewis Webb (Swansea City), Daniel Barden (Norwich City), Nathan Shepperd (Brentford), Brandon Cooper (Swansea City), Billy Sass-Davies (Yeovil Town on loan from Crewe), Ryan Astley (Everton), Morgan Boyes (Liverpool), Edward Jones (Stoke City), Owen Beck (Liverpool), Fin Stevens (Brentford), Niall Huggins (Leeds United), Terry Taylor (Burton Albion), Lewis Collins (Newport County AFC), Sam Bowen (Cardiff City), Siôn Spence (Crystal Palace), Sam Pearson (Bristol City), Joe Adams (Grimsby Town on loan from Brentford), Luke Jephcott (Plymouth Argyle), Christian Norton (Stoke City), Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City), Rhys Hughes (Everton), Jack Vale (Rochdale on loan from Blackburn), Ryan Stirk (Birmingham City)