Why Ronan Curtis must be the first of out-of-contract 10 to press for Portsmouth future

Contract talks have neither been postponed or shelved – rather willingly overlooked.

League One - Portsmouth vs Tranmere Rovers - 10/08/2019
Portsmouth's Ronan Curtis
League One - Portsmouth vs Tranmere Rovers - 10/08/2019 Portsmouth's Ronan Curtis

For Kenny Jackett, winning matches is the overriding focus, particularly following a stuttering start to the League One campaign.

Certainly little urgency presently exists within Fratton Park corridors to initiate negotiations on fresh deals for the 10 whose existing agreements expire next summer.

It’s the month of September, after all.

Besides, the prized asset of Ronan Curtis is tied by a club option, a crucial clause which enabled Pompey to stand firm for so long in the Jamal Lowe wrangle.

Of the 10 scheduled to be out of contract in the summer of 2020, it’s the future of the Irishman which provides the most intrigue.

He is in plentiful company, notably Brett Pitman, Oli Hawkins, Lee Brown, Christian Burgess, Luke McGee, Adam May, Brandon Haunstrup, Anton Walkes and Matt Casey.

Yet Curtis represents a valuable commodity and a talent previously widely coveted at the turn of the year.

Granted, interest has subsequently waned, along with his Pompey performances, nonetheless his ability is undiminished during this lean period of form.

The winger was a May 2018 gamble who defied League One expectations, even by his own admission.

It would be reasonable to assume he occupies a low pay-grade among fellow first-teamers, considering his League of Ireland background.

The stock has risen considerably since his Fratton Park arrival, however, netting 13 times in 55 appearances and earning Republic of Ireland recognition.

Curtis is beyond the status of gratefully accepting the club’s 12-month option to secure his stay, thereby condemned to the same wages.

Soon he will push for a significantly-improved deal, particularly following the employment of a new agent this summer. He deserves it too.

Pitman won’t earn another three-year contract which once made him Pompey’s highest earner, McGee will depart despite a transfer fee outlay, while Haunstrup could crave the regular football his age deserves.

There are debates to be had over the suitability of all 10 remaining with the Blues beyond this season.

Curtis stands out, though, a player Jackett has voiced his intent to retain.

There may be a club policy of non-participation – but expect the Irishman to soon be knocking on the door.