MICHAEL Flynn intends to be the proudest man in Newport on Monday evening after securing the only thing missing from his County reign – promotion.

The Exiles will play in the third tier for the first time since 1987 if they beat Morecambe in the League Two play-off final (kick-off 3pm).

It has been a tremendous season for County, who started with the aim of avoiding the drop.

They have not only pushed for promotion but enjoyed a pair of lucrative cup runs that were ended on penalties by Premier League duo Newcastle and Brighton.

Flynn has spearheaded the challenge to add to his reputation as a manager after a spell that started with the Great Escape in 2017.

County are in a stronger position in both sporting and financial terms but the boss needs to go one better than 2019 when edged out by Tranmere at Wembley.

"We've come a long way since me and Wayne [Hatswell, assistant manager] took over," said the 40-year-old. "It's been positive all the way and the only thing missing is a promotion. That's what we want more than anything.

"There is a lot of work that still needs to be done by the club and hopefully this will give us the platform to improve in areas where we need to."

Flynn played for County, coached County, worked as a business development director for County and took the job as manager of County in 2017 when a return to the National League seemed certain.

"Being from the area I know what this means to the people. If I was the one to get the club to League One there wouldn't be a prouder man in Newport," he said.

"All I can do is prepare us to be at our best and to make sure the players have all the information to win the game. As soon as they cross the line it's down to them how they perform and handle the occasion.

Newport County manager Michael Flynn at the 2019 play-off final

Newport County manager Michael Flynn at the 2019 play-off final

"It's not until you get to Wembley and start soaking up the occasion and the size of the stadium that it starts getting real.

"When we lost last time [to Tranmere] there were no nerves, it was a very tight encounter when we should have had a penalty and didn't get one, then conceded in the last minute of extra time.

"It was nothing to do with the occasion getting the better of us, so I am confident that the boys will be fine. It will be another tight encounter and hopefully it will be us that pips it."

Flynn says he will be the proudest man in Newport if County win, but he'll be close to the top of the list regardless of the score.

His squad set the pace for the first half of the season and rallied to finish strongly for a top-seven finish and then showed great character to fight back at Forest Green.

"My remit was to keep us in the league and let's not forget that I wasn't allowed to sign players until the end of July.

"We were behind on recruitment and half the players are getting bonuses and half aren't because of restrictions that have been put in place.

"We had a lot of painstaking conversations but thankfully we have got past all that to make it to a play-off final."

But Flynn doesn't need to be told that the success of the campaign will ultimately be decided by whether the trophy heads back to Wales on Monday.

"It's either a carnival atmosphere or a graveyard, and I know what side I want to be on because I am not ready to go yet," said the manager, a Wembley winner as a player in 2013.