NEWPORT County AFC manager Michael Flynn says his current stars have the potential to match the likes of club legends John Aldridge and Tommy Tynan – but they’re not there yet.

County return to League Two action at Forest Green Rovers on Saturday aiming to build on their best start to a Football League campaign since the early 1980s.

A return of 21 points from their opening 12 games matches the start Colin Addison’s men made in 1983 and is just one off the total they managed in 1982.

Aldridge, who went on to play for Liverpool and the Republic of Ireland, top scored with 27 goals in 1983-1984.

And Tynan (below) hit 33 in the 1982-1983 campaign, when County achieved their highest post-war league finish of fourth in the third tier.

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Flynn is optimistic about what his team can achieve but he admits they have a lot of hard work ahead if they are to match the stars of yesteryear.

“It’s down to the boys. They’re the drivers of their own careers,” said the Exiles boss.

“I’ll help them as much as I can but they put in the hard work, they’re dedicated, they live right and if they keep doing that they’ve definitely got a chance of moving on or pushing on as a team.

“That’s obviously what I want. I want us to go together and go up or have a successful season.

“But they’ve got a little bit of a way to go before they catch the Tynans and the Aldridges.”

Having battled relegation for the last two years and after last season’s Great Escape on the final day a promotion push would be a major reversal of fortunes for the Exiles.

But Flynn is not ruling his side out of challenging for the play-offs.

“Cardiff, Shrewsbury and Exeter were all bottom this time last year and now they’re all top this year,” he said. “They’ve transformed themselves.

“We were rock bottom last year and now we’re eighth on goal difference so it is a big transformation.

“And it goes to show that when you put the hard work in it tends to pay off.”

But the manager believes that it is only in the New Year that the promotion and relegation picture will become clear.

“I think the Christmas period is crucial because there’s so many games in such a short space of time,” he said.

“You’ve got to keep players fit and fresh and if you get through that then by the end of February a lot of the positions are clear.

“But I think we showed last season that it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

“If we’re anywhere around the top half of the table then we’re in the fight.

“There’s always one team who comes good and there’s always a team who are in freefall.

“I’m hoping that we can have the momentum and keep going.”