Ronan Curtis: I'll handle Pompey pressure after public pursuit
Ronan Curtis admitted Pompey's public pursuit of his signature has added pressure on him to deliver but vowed: I'm ready for the challenge.
The Republic of Ireland under-21 international’s move to the Blues from Derry City was finalised on June 9.
That was seven weeks after Kenny Jackett’s interest in the forward was first reported.
During that period, Candystripes boss Kenny Shiels categorically stated Curtis wasn’t leaving the Brandywell for Fratton Park – and had a dig at Pompey in the process.
Meanwhile, Derry legend Liam Coyle also threw his weight behind the London-born talent’s switch to the south coast.
As the Blues’ interest in Curtis’ was out in the open, it has naturally meant the Fratton faithful are expecting him to hit the ground running.
But Curtis is confident the well-documented pursuit will not stop him from making a rapid start.
He said: ‘It does put a little bit of pressure on me.
‘But I like having a bit of pressure on me. You go through stages and have pressure on you but I’m ready for it.
‘I can’t thank Kenny Shiels enough because he’s done such a good job for Derry.
‘Now I can’t wait to pay him back and show how good I can be for Portsmouth.
‘I now just want to hit the ground running and do well for Kenny Jacket.
‘I think I’m ready for the challenge.’
Curtis will also be playing on a significantly bigger stage than he did at Derry.
The Candystripes’ Brandywell gates were around 5,000.
At Pompey, he will feature in front of more than three times as many fans.
Players have previously taken their time to acclimatise to the Fratton Park atmosphere.
But it’s something Curtis is not worrying about.
‘At Derry we got 4,000 to 5,000 fans at each game,’ he added.
‘It’s going to just under 20,000 and that’s a big step.
‘But I’ll just play my game and I won’t be worrying about it.’
Another reason why Curtis is adamant he will start his Pompey career with a bang is because he’s already delivered when under scrutiny.
He first found out about Jackett’s interest in March.
The Blues boss sent scouts across the Irish Sea to assess the 22-year-old.
But Curtis handled the pressure and scored nine goals in 13 appearances for Derry during the League of Ireland campaign.
And he believes those performances under the watchful eye of Jackett’s scouts highlights he’ll begin his Pompey career in top gear.
‘There was never any nervousness – I was all right actually,’ Curtis said.
‘There are a lot of scouts who go and watch Derry because they’ve produced big, big players like James McClean and Danny Lafferty.
‘I heard the scouts were coming and I just played my game, really. I worked my socks off and that is what got me my move.’