Portsmouth boss: We must cope without infectious Ronan Curtis

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Kenny Jackett has challenged Pompey to perform without their Irish talisman.

Top-scorer Ronan Curtis’ Republic of Ireland under-21 commitments ensure he is absent from Saturday’s match with Shrewsbury.

Ronan Curtis is away on Republic of Ireland under-21 duty. Picture: PA Images

Ronan Curtis is away on Republic of Ireland under-21 duty. Picture: PA Images

Noel King’s youngsters take on Kosovo in a European Championships qualifier tomorrow, with Tuesday’s clash against Germany completing the double header.

Curtis has made an outstanding start to his Fratton Park career since a summer move from Derry City, with five goals and three assists.

On Tuesday night, the Blues destroyed Gillingham 4-0 in the Checkatrade Trophy without the 22-year-old.

Andre Green is likely to again deputise for the visit of struggling Shrewsbury – and Jackett knows the Blues must maintain that winning feeling in Curtis’ absence.

He said: ‘It’s a big test.

‘Can we cope without Ronan being here? Can we make sure that the team looks seamless and just as strong?

‘It is our aim to be able to do that.

‘We wish him all the best in the two internationals he has coming up, it’s a fantastic honour to play for your country, and obviously selfishly we wish after those games he is back and fit and available for next Saturday.

‘He has started well for us, but so have a number of other players.

‘Ronan is an infectious character and a very good character.

‘We have some strength in the wide area, it’s an explosive position and you are going to need it.’