GARETH Ainsworth said he feels more confident going into games this season compared to last year as he prepares to face one of the League Two promotion favourites at Adams Park tomorrow.
Opponents Bury sit just behind Blues after winning three of their first five matches, having been busy on the transfer front during the summer.
Veteran striker Ryan Lowe was the most significant of the 12 new arrivals at Gigg Lane, as manager David Flitcroft also got rid of ten players during a busy close season.
Wanderers have made an encouraging start to the new campaign themselves and Ainsworth said there's a different atmosphere in the camp compared to last year - giving him the belief his side can get the results against the fancied teams in the division.
He said: "I'm very happy with the level we are at at the moment. Visually, on the pitch, I can see a big difference from last year. The points are very much the same at this stage of the season as they were last year, but it's those little things you see with your own eyes that make the difference, and that's why I'm more confident this year."
Referring to tomorrow's opponents the Blues boss said: "Rightly so they are up there [amongst the favourites]. They've spent a lot of money since David Flitcroft took over. They got a lot of players out when he came in, and that costs money, and they brought players in this season, which also costs money.
"They were at death's door a year ago but they've had investment in the club. It shows how much money does talk in the league. When teams start spending money and get big players in they automatically become favourites, à la Bury and Portsmouth.
"We'll be underdogs again going into this and it will be a tough challenge."
Blues have won one and lost one of their home league fixtures so far, having been beaten in front of their own supporters 11 times last year - something Ainsworth is keen to turn around.
He said: "We want to turn our fortune round at Adams Park. Over the two years I've been in charge it's been something I have wanted to address. The best teams have good home form and that's what I intend to do."