Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley has revealed Ronan Curtis was dropped to the bench in yesterday’s 1-0 loss against MK Dons due to Reeco Hackett-Fairchild’s performances in games and training, speaking to Hampshire Live about this decision.
Curtis, 25, was linked with a move away from Portsmouth during the summer after recording an impressive 17 goal contributions in 42 contributions last term – and has been consistent in this department for the south-coast side in his three years at Fratton Park.
The Republic of Ireland international even publicly stated his desire to move to the Championship during the summer transfer window, with Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City, Reading and Derby County all previously said to have been monitoring his situation.
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But with the latter two under a transfer embargo and the former two reported to have cooled their interest, it was largely accepted by all parties in the final stages of the transfer window that he would remain with the League One side until at least January.
Unfortunately for the winger, his contract with Danny Cowley’s men doesn’t run out until 2023 after signing a contract extension in February of last year, although his form so far this term is unlikely to earn him a move away.
He has failed to record a single goal or assist in seven competitive appearances so far – but it’s another player in teammate Reeco Hackett-Fairchild who was responsible for the 25-year-old being dropped according to Danny Cowley, who said: “I just think Reeco (Hackett-Fairchild) has been doing really well, I think he has trained really well.
“When he has played, he has played well and sometimes, you pick a team to try and win you the game.
“I’ll pick what I see. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are the most senior player in the squad and played the most amount of games or you are a younger player in the squad.
“We will pick what we see in training and pick what we see in the games.”
This is a bit of a fall from grace for Curtis, who was probably expecting to move on in the summer after showing consistency over the past three campaigns for Pompey, but nothing major ever really materialised.
With previously-linked club Reading needing wingers, as shown by Alen Halilovic and Junior Hoilett’s arrivals at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in the summer, the Royals’ embargo may have proved to have been detrimental to the Irishman.
The Berkshire side have been heavily backed by their owners, so the £2m valuation Portsmouth placed above his head would have been more than affordable if they weren’t under these transfer restrictions.
But for other sides like Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff City, finances seemed tight and that’s potentially down to the financial impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on clubs right across the EFL.
So in the short-term, his main focus has to be on helping his current side potentially get to the Championship if they can regain their early-season form and continue battling for a place in the top six. Because if he can perform, interested sides will return for his services.