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Ipswich Town fan Russell Claydon on his two reasons why he believes this season could be the Blues’ time

Of course this week was all about that trip to the Theatre of Dreams.

But once the teams came out, and we saw the 11 changes from Friday, it was never going to be a dream night up at Old Trafford.

The side which took to the field against Manchester United’s stellar line-up did alright in the end, but what Mick McCarthy’s selection did was heap pressure on us to beat Bristol City at home on Saturday (3pm) to vindicate it.

Back to the first team and Frday night, and we look to be heading in the right direction to be making trips to the country’s best grounds more than just another Willy Wonka golden ticket moment.

The Reading blip aside, and perhaps it can serve as a good wake-up call, so far we look more than capable of mixing it with the best in the division.

Two key ingredients make me more confident than last season of achieving promotion — and both were evident in the 1-1 home draw with Birmingham City.

With Mick McCarthy surprising us all by not starting either David McGoldrick or Daryl Murphy, we still looked a potent threat with Brett Pitman and Freddie Sears.

And the key is that he now has the luxury of not having to make his strikers play through dips in form and weary legs.

With Ryan Fraser not fully recovered, Mick put Larsen Toure in, and I thought he had a real positive impact.

As well as the ability to rotate through a 46 game campaign, which we didn’t have last season, we also witnessed the pace now in the side when Ainsley Maitland-Niles sped almost the length of the pitch to win a contentious penalty for Pitman’s equaliser. That simply wouldn’t have happened last season.

It was obviously disappointing not to go on and win the game after a flurry of second-half chances.

But if we record a three-point haul over a Bristol City side who have been surprise strugglers, seven points from nine will certainly keep us on course for an Old Trafford reunion.

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