LEWIS Collins intends to finish his teenage years by firing Newport County AFC into the League Two play-offs.

The 19-year-old is likely to join forces with Padraig Amond up front for the fifth game on the spin as the Exiles hunt the point at Southend that would secure a spot in the top seven.

Collins’ patience has paid off this season after manager Michael Flynn opted for his youthful exuberance in the run-in, with the Wales Under-21s international hounding defenders and scoring his first senior goal in the 4-0 rout against Scunthorpe United.

The teenager doesn’t want the season to end on Saturday at Roots Hall – and after his birthday on Sunday wants to help ensure he is playing League One football as a 20-year-old.

“We feel we are in good form, have got some momentum and believe we can beat any team in this league,” said Collins.

“Wherever we finish in the play-off positions, if that’s the case, we’ll be confident of getting to Wembley and pushing for promotion to League One.”

South Wales Argus: MAGIC MOMENT: Lewis Collins fires home his first senior goalMAGIC MOMENT: Lewis Collins fires home his first senior goal

County have taken 10 points from the last 12 and kept four clean sheets, with the bright prospect hoping they are hitting form at the right time.

“We led the way for much of the first half of this season and we could have been crowned champions,” he said. “We fell away a bit at the start of the year, although now we are right back in it.

“We know what we’ve got to do at Southend this weekend and I’m hoping there is plenty to celebrate on my birthday.”

Collins was in the XI when County started the season in style by stunning Swansea in the Carabao Cup.

An ankle injury suffered on Wales Under-21s duty in October disrupted his season but he has grasped his chances in the run-in.

A pair of lively appearances off the bench against Bolton and Mansfield convinced manager Michael Flynn to give Collins a crack and the teenager has responded.

“For me, everything is down to confidence. Everyone at the club has been so supportive of me and all I want to do is repay them with the best possible performances,” said the versatile forward, who has made 20 appearances.

“I get a friendly arm around the shoulder at training to encourage me or to let me know when I need to do a bit more, and that has really helped. Let’s face it, what can I do in return other than play my best.

“I can hardly go up to Kevin Ellison and give him some footballing tips or friendly advice. He’s been a professional player long than I’ve been born!

“I’ve had to bide my time, get over some ankle problems and then make the most of my chances when they came along. I’ve enjoyed playing alongside Padraig Amond in recent weeks and I think we complement each other pretty well.”

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Now the ultimate aim for Collins is to earn a trip to Wembley – and a proper one this time after being a travelling reserve for the 2019 play-off final defeat to Tranmere Rovers in extra time.

“I was out of action for five months before we went to Wembley in 2019 and I was extremely grateful to the manager for including me in the group that went there. It was great being able to warm-up with the team on that pitch,” he said.

“I was only a second-year scholar at the club then, but now I’m making my way in the side and looking to build on my recent performances.”

A point at Southend would guarantee a play-off spot while a win would earn home advantage in the second leg.

If County are beaten then they would be saved if one of Tranmere, Forest Green or Exeter also slips up, with the Merseyside team only needing a point to go above the Exiles and the other pair needing wins.


Tranmere also lose or Forest Green or Exeter fail to win.