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View From The Town End: Ipswich Town

Reading head to Portman Road potentially facing a trio of former Royals and a team firmly focussed on a Premier League return. To get the Tractor Boys view on tomorrow's game we spoke to Susan from Turnstile Blues.

Harry Engels/Getty Images

How would you sum up Ipswich's season so far?

It's been far better than I anticipated. I would have been happy if we had simply built on the relative success of last season but we've been playing so much better, are (usually) enjoyable to watch and it looks like Mick McCarthy's created a happy, cohesive and talented squad while spending a fraction of the amount other teams have.

It's been a long slog in the Championship since the heady days under George Burley. Is this finally the season where you can make it back to the big time?

I'm not sure. Having suffered under the Keane and Jewell regimes, it's hard not to be excited by the difference that McCarthy has made, but the Championship is so competitive, I think it will be difficult to beat Middlesbrough and Derby to the top places, plus there are some other impressive sides. I'd be content with a top half finish, as long as we can hold on to McCarthy, his assistant, Terry Connor, and our best players, which might be difficult if we don't go up. We're definitely heading in the right direction at long last.

You've got a fair few former-Royals in your ranks! What do fans make of Jay Tabb plus Stephen & Noel Hunt?

Views on Tabb are quite mixed. Some fans have been very critical but I've seen him be the best player on the pitch on occasions. The problem is that he doesn't quite offer enough. We need more creative players in midfield, but that isn't just down to Tabb, it applies to all of our midfielders. Stephen Hunt is very popular, I think, but once again he's just that little bit short of what we need. I'd have loved to have had him in our side ten years ago! He brings so much else to the club, in terms of his personality and team spirit. It's fairly obvious why Mick wants him around. Too early to comment on Noel although he made himself instantly popular with fans by scoring a vital goal and looks as if he'll be a useful member of the squad. We're waiting for news about an injury he sustained at Fulham last Saturday. Hopefully he won't be out for too long.

Ipswich were beaten 1-0 at the Madejski earlier this season, what did you make of Reading that day and from what you've seen and heard since?

I was at that game, but it seems a terribly long time ago now. I remember it as a scrappy game which I thought Reading probably deserved to win - just! Based on that match, it's surprising how differently our seasons have panned out. I'm surprised to see you down in 16th place and think you'll finish higher up the table. Having said that, I'm envious of your FA Cup run and genuinely wish you luck.

Any Reading player you're not looking forward to facing?

Probably Simon Cox, who's a player I like. I've never been an admirer of Yakubu, but there's no doubt of his ability to score goals and I'm sure that he wants to prove that he's still got it. I feel less worried about conceding than I have for many seasons though.

Which Ipswich player should we be particularly concerned with on Saturday?

It has to be Daryl Murphy who has already scored 21 league goals this season (34 in all competitions) and is in the form of his life. I hope that Freddie Sears starts too. He's been a great acquisition.

Score prediction?

Ipswich 2 Reading 0

Finally, any advice for Reading fans making the trip to Portman Road?

If you can avoid being corralled into the "official" pub for away fans opposite the railway station, which is one of the worst in town, Ipswich has some great pubs and our fans are usually welcoming. Otherwise take a walk down to the Marina or a visit to Christchurch Mansion & Park if you want something different. The bad news is that our local train service is pretty poor so, if you're coming by public transport, it's worth checking for problems, replacement buses, and so on.

Thanks again to Susan and you can follow Turnstile Blues on Twitter @Turnstile_Blue