RONAN CURTIS HAS been enjoying another very productive season at club level.
With 13 goals in all competitions, Curtis – who has also contributed seven assists – is Portsmouth’s leading goalscorer.
Mick McCarthy has been monitoring his progress, with the Ireland manager stating recently that the winger has been in “top form” as the Euro 2020 play-off against Slovakia looms into view.
While the performances of Curtis are certainly encouraging from an Irish perspective, the obvious caveat is that he’s producing them in the third tier of English football.
However, tonight’s visit of Arsenal to Fratton Park (7.45pm) offers the 23-year-old an ideal chance to show that he’s capable of performing against opposition of a significantly higher standard.
A place in the last eight of the FA Cup will be at stake, as Pompey look to cause a major upset by defeating the Gunners for the first time since 1958.
For Curtis, it’s also a chance to take on the club he supported as a child. The League of Ireland graduate spent the first six years of his life in London before his Irish parents relocated back to Donegal.
“My whole family grew up as Arsenal fans,” Curtis told The Portsmouth News ahead of tonight’s game. “The whole household followed them. My idol was Thierry Henry because I played up front and he was a striker.
“So it’s going to be good to be playing them and see Arsenal for the first time. It’s going to be an amazing day and I can’t wait for it.”
Since his move from Derry City ahead of last season, Curtis has become a fan-favourite at Portsmouth. He was strongly linked with Blackburn Rovers in January, before reaffirming his commitment to his current employers by signing a new three-and-a-half-year contract.