Nathan Thompson admits clubs will be circling for Ronan Curtis if Pompey miss out on promotion this season.
And the right-back sees similarities between the Irishman and former Blues winger Matt Ritchie.
Curtis has made a superb impact at Fratton Park since arriving from Derry City in the summer.
Before Saturday’s trip to Barnsley, he’d scored seven goals and created 10 during the League One title push.
His scintillating form has also earned him a maiden Republic of Ireland senior cap.
The 22-year-old has swiftly acclimatised to his new Football League surroundings and has lit up the third tier.
Thompson hailed Curtis’ performances for Kenny Jackett’s side during their promotion push.
But the former Swindon captain conceded Pompey could be at risk of losing their talisman if they fail to reach the Championship.
Thompson said: ‘You’ve seen Ronan and at the start of the season, he really caught people by surprise. People didn’t know what to expect.
‘The wingers have been fantastic for us and are always going to create chances for the likes of Oli Hawkins, Brett Pitman and Gareth Evans.
‘Ronan is tough and thankfully I’m on his side.
‘He’s very high on confidence and when you’ve got it it’s a fantastic asset.
‘It’s difficult for the opposition but I don’t want to give too much away in case any other defenders read this!
‘He’s been fantastic for us. He’s got huge ability and hopefully we can go up because naturally there will be clubs circling if we don’t.’
Given his exploits this season, Curtis has been tipped in some quarters for a Premier League future.
One ex-Pompey player currently in the top flight is Ritchie at Newcastle.
Thompson played alongside the Gosport-born talent after he departed Fratton Park for Swindon Town in 2011.
And the tough-tackling defender believes Curtis’ game is akin to his former Robins team-mate.
He added: ‘Ronan is right up there. If you look back through the years, someone like Matt Ritchie is another striker’s dream.
‘They are very similar in that sense. Ronan has got even more of a tenaciousness approach about him because he’s so strong, can receive the ball with his back to goal and create half a yard.
‘Defenders week in, week out want to boot and kick him, which shows he’s doing the right things.
‘Ronan has only been here half a season but he’s hit the ground running.
‘He’s got that confidence and you need that to go to the very top. It’s almost an arrogance in a sense.’
One area Curtis has worked on, however, is beating his opposite number on the outside – rather than cutting in on his favoured right foot.
It’s something the south London-born ace has significantly improved.
Thompson added: ‘He probably went through a couple of games when teams had watched clips and doubled up. He’s had to adapt his game.
‘You’ve seen now he’s able to go on the outside and come on the inside.
‘Both goals against Southend were different crosses and he’s worked on that in training.
‘Credit to him, he’s getting the results from that. It was important for him (to improve his left foot).
‘You were seeing the holding midfielder coming across and doubling up.
‘As he tried to come back inside a lot of his crosses were getting blocked.
‘He’s gone away, noticed he needed to fine-tune his game and worked on it.’