MENTOR Lennie Lawrence believes Michael Flynn is ready for the next level – but the Newport County AFC manager needs a promotion on his CV.

Flynn will spearhead the Exiles’ bid for League One in Monday’s play-off final against Morecambe.

The 40-year-old went agonisingly close to achieving that target two years ago only to be controversially denied by Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.

Lawrence was alongside Flynn when County were beaten at the death and this time around he will be in the stands.

The 73-year-old headed to Newport for the Great Escape in 2017 and stayed as management consultant before leaving for Stevenage last summer.

Lawrence has watched Flynn grow as a leader and believes clubs higher up the pyramid are watching closely.

Newport County manager Michael Flynn with Lennie Lawrence

Newport County manager Michael Flynn with Lennie Lawrence

“He’s had a really good start in management and now he’s ready for the next level. Hopefully, that can be with Newport in League One next season,” said the former Cardiff boss.

“He needs a promotion on his CV and Monday would be perfect timing, but even if Newport don’t go up I think he is good enough to move up to a Championship club when the time is right.”

Lawrence went up against County with Stevenage, losing 1-0 at Broadhall Way, before leaving his role as Alex Revell’s helper in December.

He saw first-hand a very different side to the one he helped build with Flynn and assistant Wayne Hatswell.

“The fact the season got curtailed last year probably helped him,” said Lawence. “Newport were mid-table and he needed a break to re-charge his batteries.

“When he came back he decided to change the playing style, which was a really brave move.

“Before that Newport were always fairly direct in their approach, but to his credit he tried a different tack and took his team to the top of the league.”

Lennie Lawrence

Lennie Lawrence

Lawrence will be at Wembley with the hope of seeing his former protégé earn promotion after the heartbreak of two years ago, when edged out by Tranmere in controversial circumstances.

“I actually think the starting XI in 2019 was maybe slightly stronger than the current team, but there is no doubt the strength in depth Michael now has is much better,” he said.

“The change in style of the side will certainly help the team on Monday at Wembley and give them a great chance of going one better than two years ago.

“The fact there are six players who played then who are still in the side, along with all the other experienced players, is bound to give Newport an edge over a young Morecambe team who have never got to this stage before.

“That said, Derek Adams has done a great job with Morecambe this season.”