Checkatrade Trophy final: Wembley experience will be amazing for Ronan Curtis – even if he doesn’t play against Sunderland

His name has unsurprisingly dominated the headlines in the build-up to the Checkatrade Trophy final.

Saturday, 30th March 2019, 11:56 am
Updated Saturday, 30th March 2019, 3:28 pm
Ronan Curtis celebrates his goal at Bury in the Checkatrade Trophy semi-final. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

And it’s been a question every member of the Fratton faithful has been pondering: will Ronan Curtis line-up at Wembley?

The Irishman has had a whirlwind of a first season on the south coast, scoring 12 goals and creating a further 15.

His presence against Sunderland would be huge for Kenny Jackett’s side.

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Unfortunately, we won’t find out if he is involved until 1.30pm on Sunday when the teams are announced.

The winger suffered a freak finger injury ahead of Pompey’s trip to Walsall earlier this month, when he severed it in the front door of his Old Portsmouth home.

Curtis was forced to pull out of the Republic of Ireland squad for their Euros 2020 qualifiers, while he’s missed the Blues’ past three games.

The 23-year-old had his stitches removed on Tuesday and has been given the green light by doctors to feature at the national stadium.

He was back training with his team-mates on Wednesday, while Jackett will be making a late decision on whether Curtis will be involved against the Black Cats.

The former Derry City ace is optimistic he will make his Wembley debut.

But even if he’s unable to feature, Curtis is still relishing the occasion.

He said: ‘When it happened, everything was going through my mind at one stage. It was just a silly, freak accident.

‘My head was gone because I had the two international games as well coming up.

‘I spoke to (Republic of Ireland manager) Mick McCarthy after I got out of hospital and he told me to take it step by step.

‘I was gutted not to play for my country against Gibraltar and Georiga – fuming really.

‘I’m back at my club now and Wembley is the next game – hopefully I can play.

‘It will be amazing if I can play. I don’t know if I will be playing yet or not.

‘But the lads have done brilliantly in the past three games.

‘Even just to go there with the lads, if I’m not playing will still be an amazing day out.

‘It’s my first season in Wembley and it’ll be the first time I’m going to Wembley.

‘It’s an amazing stadium. I can’t say it’s one of my favourites because the Aviva Stadium is better!

‘Wembley is a great stadium, though, a great pitch and it's going to be amazing.

‘It’s going to be amazing for the fans and the whole club.

‘When I came here and was playing in front of 20,000 it was crazy.

‘But there’s going to be double that going to Wembley and it’ll be great to see it.’

Originally from south London, Curtis was raised in Donegal and is a proud Irishman.

He’s got a fare few family members coming over from Eire for the Checkatrade Trophy final – meaning his home will be awash with air beds to house them all.

Curtis, who scored in the 3-0 semi-final win at Bury, added: ‘There’s about 20 or 30 family members coming over for it.

‘There will be air beds everywhere in my house. My head will be wrecked, the gaff will be ruined!

‘But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

‘It’s going to be a good day out for them because they have never been to Wembley.

‘They’ll be enjoying it in the stands, drinking and having food so they’ll really enjoy it.’