RONAN CURTIS' Portsmouth career keeps getting better and the ex-Derry City striker admits he never imagined reaching a Wembley final in his first campaign in England.
The Republic of Ireland international netted an outstanding strike against League Two Bury last night to seal Pompey's place in the final of next month's Checkatrade Trophy.
Curtis’ strike in the 77th minute rounded off the win, after Gareth Evans and Oli Hawkins put the Blues in control.
Not since the 2010 FA Cup final have Pompey graced the London venue and following a nine-year absence, they are booked in for another visit with a 3-0 win at Gigg Lane.
It’s been a superb maiden season at Fratton Park for the St Johnston native following his arrival from the Brandywell club last summer.
The 22-year-old has been key during the League One promotion push, won his first senior international cap and is now in line to make his debut at the English national stadium.
"Words can’t describe the feeling," he said after last night's game. I’ve never been to Wembley before and to achieve that in my first year as a League One player is amazing.
"It’s been amazing this first year. The first season in League One has been amazing now getting to Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy will be a great honour for me.
‘I didn’t think it would be this good – I didn’t even think I would be playing this season. But the gaffer has put his faith in me and I’ve supplied the goods.
"The lads were brilliant. We dug in deep in the first half, came out all guns blazing in the second half and got the clean sheet. The lads were buzzing in the dressing room, jumping around singing “Wembley, here we come!”‘
It is a great honour and we’re all buzzing – it’s going to be a good day out.
"Some of the lads have been to Wembley before but for me as a young man – I’m only 22 – in my first season in League One it’s amazing."
Pompey went into half-time goalless, with Bury slightly shading the opening 45 minutes. But a rampant display after the interval put the Blues firmly in control. Curtis’ effort in the 77th minute was arguably the best, as he created himself a yard of space inside the box before firing beyond Shakers keeper Joe Murphy.
"In the first half, we knew how hard it was to come here on a bobbly pitch. They have a structure to the way they play and we did what we needed to do.
"We came out in the second half and were all guns blazing. For my goal, I just flicked it past the defender then banged it in the bottom corner. It was the icing on the cake for me"