He once interested Cardiff, Blackburn and Bristol City - the complex decision facing Portsmouth over winger's Fratton future

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Ronan Curtis was able to participate in Sunday’s lap of appreciation, no longer reliant on crutches and thankfully pain free.

It now remains to be seen whether Pompey’s longest-serving player will again set foot on Fratton Park’s cherished turf.

The issue of Curtis’ Blues future is far from straightforward, creating quite a conundrum for both player and club.

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The 27-year-old is not expected to be available until December, as he maintains recovery from damaging the ACL in his left knee against Bolton.

At the time, the Fratton faithful were witnessing a welcome resurgence in the Irishman’s career under John Mousinho following frustratingly fallow times.

Indeed, Pompey’s head coach has made no secret of his desire to keep Curtis – and how his subsequent injury-enforced absence has proven so costly to play-off hopes.

However, the winger is out of contract this summer, creating a complex scenario.

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In truth, had Curtis not suffered serious injury, he would likely have departed the south coast in search of the fresh challenge his career requires, having never been short of suitors.

Ronan Curtis' Pompey future is a complex situation, with the injured winger out of contract this summer. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesRonan Curtis' Pompey future is a complex situation, with the injured winger out of contract this summer. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Ronan Curtis' Pompey future is a complex situation, with the injured winger out of contract this summer. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

Clearly his time at Pompey had stagnated, particularly under Danny Cowley when largely not utilised in his favoured left-wing role, with performance levels plummeting as a consequence.

Despite maintaining a healthy goal return from a wide position, Curtis was clearly a shadow of the player who burst onto the scene in the summer of 2018 following recruitment by Kenny Jackett.

During five Blues seasons, he made his Republic of Ireland debut, amassed 226 appearances and 57 goals, and attracted transfer interest from the likes of Cardiff, Blackburn, Bristol City, Huddersfield and also abroad.

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Pompey’s insistence on clubs matching their valuation has, inevitably, meant Curtis remained – and is now in a position to leave for nothing this summer.

Still, crucially, the Irishman has never burned bridges or declared determination to quit the club as his contract ticked down, a professional approach recognised by those within the club.

It ensures he is now being considered for a new deal, albeit entirely on the club’s terms considering the former Derry man’s injury predicament.

With Curtis unable to feature for six months, logically any prospective deal will be for a year, while inevitably financial details will also not be as lucrative as previous terms.

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In football’s ruthless world, that’s the sobering reality facing the winger who, by all accounts, is currently ahead of schedule with his rehabilitation.

Of course, a Pompey contract offer must firstly be tabled, with Curtis to learn where he stands over the next few days during scheduled end-of-season player meetings with Mousinho.

Yet, ultimately, it will be sporting director Rich Hughes and the club board to decide whether they should allocate a proportion of the playing budget to somebody who cannot be called upon until the second half of next season.

There also remains a moral obligation towards Curtis, who was injured on first-team duty in February against Bolton, even playing on despite serious knee ligament damage.

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It is a question of basic principles for the club to continue overseeing his rehabilitation, irrespective of whether the player is out of contract during his time on the sidelines.

As ever, however, Curtis also has a pivotal say in his future and he may well assess the situation and decline a new deal to explore other options.

At the age of 27, a fresh start may appeal to him and his young family once he has assessed potential interest from elsewhere, whatever that may prove to be.

We await the resolution, yet, as ever in football, the situation is complicated.