IAN Evatt has revealed the role Newport County boss Mike Flynn played in Josh Sheehan moving to League One with Wanderers.

The Wales international midfielder has made a good start to his career with Bolton, scoring a stunning free-kick on his debut against MK Dons and then netting the winning penalty in a shootout against Barnsley in the Carabao Cup.

But Evatt admits none of that might have happened had Flynn not magnanimously allowed him to speak with Sheehan back in April, when his side were still gunning for promotion from League Two.

The midfielder had indicated he wanted to play at a higher level and talks began on a potential move to the UniBol after the Whites were beaten 1-0 by Newport – then gunning for the play-offs – at Rodney Parade eight games before the end of the season.

“I have admired Josh for quite a while now and known about him for a long time,” Evatt said when asked how the move came about.

“Fortunately for me Michael Flynn knew he was going to lose him, I played with Michael and we have a good relationship so we had a conversation about Josh after we played them. He said he’d love him to play for me because he would really suit the way my teams play. 'He will be great for you and I know you will be great for him'.

“He allowed us to start the dialogue during the season, really, and that’s what happened. We spoke to Josh and made sure he knew what we were about and what we wanted him to do and he bought into it really quickly.

“I think if you asked Josh he’d tell you there was nobody else on the radar because he wanted to come here. We spent a lot of time on that and hopefully we will see the benefits of it because I think there is still loads to come. We are still educating him, getting him into better positions. Technically he is fantastic, of course, but we’re really excited about him.”

Sheehan was one of the few players who avoided a prolonged spell away from the training ground this summer as Covid caused problems for Wanderers’ pre-season preparations.

Evatt had voiced his concerns about the disparity of fitness levels in the build up to last weekend’s game but says the necessary players have been working hard to catch-up.

“It is something that we pride ourselves on, our fitness levels,” he said. “It is a vital part of the game now and we take it very seriously. We have worked hard pre-season and we are still gaining that full match fitness as we speak now.

“We had a disrupted pre-season with many of our first team players, so for now it is about building up minutes, not taking too many risks with them physically, monitoring the data, make sure we are not overloading them so they break down.”