Ronan Curtis: Portsmouth and Republic of Ireland forward relives 'freak' finger injury
The chance to play at a sold-out Wembley Stadium would have been far from the mind of Ronan Curtis just three weeks ago when he almost lost a finger in a freak accident.
As the Portsmouth forward left his house to travel to a league game at Walsall, he trapped his hand in his front door, leaving the 22-year-old Republic of Ireland international fearing the worst.
"Words can't describe how sore it felt," he told BBC South Today. "I thought I'd be out for a long time."
Such was the extent of the injury, Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett revealed the finger had been "hanging off" Curtis' left hand.
But plastic surgery managed to save the finger, giving Curtis the chance to return to action against Sunderland in Sunday's Checkatrade Trophy final.
"It was a really bad injury," Curtis recalled. "You just don't really know how sore it can be until it happens to yourself.
"We had Walsall away on the Tuesday night and I was coming out of the house before. The wind was very bad, I came out to close the door behind me, but it closed ahead of me.
"I managed to get three fingers out of the way, but that one stayed in and the door chopped it off.
"The doctor said four-to-six weeks, but the surgeons have done a good job, stitched it up and saved the finger.
"I couldn't train for the first two weeks in case of infection from sweat and that might have meant I'd have lost it.
"But now the wound has closed up and the stitches have healed, so I'm good to go."
Curtis joined Portsmouth in July after leaving Derry City. His impressive early-season form led to a senior international debut against Northern Ireland in November.
"This is the first time I've been injured all season," he said. "I was freaking out I'd be out for a long time.
"I missed the two internationals against Gibraltar and Georgia, but I'm back at the club and focusing on the games ahead. [Republic of Ireland manager] Mick McCarthy's been great and we've spoken on a couple of occasions."