Blackburn target Ronan Curtis unmoved by transfer talk as he focuses on Portsmouth promotion push

Portsmouths Ronan Curtis in action in the 2-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon at Fratton Park last Saturday.
Portsmouths Ronan Curtis in action in the 2-1 victory over AFC Wimbledon at Fratton Park last Saturday.

RONAN CURTIS insists he won’t allow the mounting transfer speculation affect his performances with Portsmouth.

The former Derry City winger has been heavily linked with a move away from Fratton Park with Championship outfit, Blackburn Rovers reportedly monitoring his situation.

Curtis’ current contract expires in the summer, however, Pompey hold the option for an additional 12 months.

The January transfer talk doesn’t come as a surprise given the 23 year-old’s impressive form of late which earned him back-to-back PFA League One Player of the Month awards for November and December.

He is currently Portsmouth’s top scorer with 11 goals in 29 appearances and has proven a major hit with the club’s supporters since arriving from Derry City for £100,000 in the summer of 2018.

Leading Portsmouth’s goal scoring charts, the St Johnston man has been in superb form as of late and is recognised as a leading talent in the division.

The Brandywell club would benefit financially should a club pay a fee for the player given the sell-on clause as part of that deal and they’ve already received an additional five figure sum following Curtis’ competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League clash with Denmark last year.

The Ireland international, however, isn’t interested in the speculation surrounding his future and is solely focussed on helping Portsmouth challenge for the promotion playoff places having rediscovered his confidence following an early season dip in form.

“I’m enjoying it and I’ve got my confidence back,” said Curtis who visited his former Derry City teammates during a short break back home.

“I had a little dip in form at the start of the season but we’ve come back strong. We’re unbeaten at home still. On the road, we can still improve and hopefully we can turn that around but at the minute it’s all good.

“It’s a hard league. There’s tough teams in it and anyone can beat anyone. Bottom half of the table teams can beat the top half teams so it’s hard.

”You’ve got to battle the whole way through the league and there’s loads of games as well. It’s 40 odd games and then you have the cup competitions as well.

“It’s hard to get out of League One but we’re flying at the minute and hopefully we can continue that. I think we’re a point off the playoffs at the minute and we still have 20 odd games to go so hopefully we can do it.”

It’s been a significant resurgence for the player this season as fans became frustrated with his sluggish form in the opening months of the campaign. Having contributed 12 goals in his first League One campaign, he struggled to replicate that form at the beginning of his second season at the club.

“Fans are going to be mad if you’re not playing your best,” he admitted. “There’s 20,000 fans who pay to come and watch good football obviously and the last few weeks I think we’ve done that. But I did get a bit of criticism but it’s about showing character and bouncing back from that.

“The lads have all dug in deep, got together and we’ve done really well.”

Curtis claims the support of manager, Kenny Jackett was key to his personal revival and is hoping to repay his faith.

“He pulled me to the side after a few games when I wasn’t doing so well and told me to just keep going and told me once I get my first goal I’ll get my confidence back.

“He’s put his faith in me and thank God he did. I think I’ve repaid him for that now. We’ve scored 11 goals in January so far and hopefully I can get more and we can go on from there.”And he was delighted to receive another Player of the Month award and is hoping to make it a hat-trick!

“I can’t complain about that,” he smiled. “There’s some top players in the league and top teams like Sunderland and Ipswich, Bolton, us so there’s some great teams and great players and I’m just thankful the fans and the people who voted for me. So hopefully I can go for three in a row - a hat-trick!”

Curtis has no bigger fan than his mum Marie who has been, as always, vocal in her support of her son. However, her comments on Twitter have got her into hot water in recent months when Curtis banned her from social media following posts about his teammate, Brett Pitman asking ‘has Pitts put weight on or is it just TV?’ She later apologised for any offence caused but her son banned her from Twitter.

With over 1,000 followers, Marie is active on Twitter once again and Curtis laughed off his mum’s comments as ‘banter’.” There was nothing in it,” he laughed.

“It was just a bit of banter really. Everyone knows my mum. When I was at Derry everyone knew her character and she would have a laugh with fans too and say things and gets involved with everything.

“The fans love her over there. She was banned for a couple of weeks but now she’s alright now she’s good. She’s back on there. We’ll let her back on there for now.”