The current penchant is for Premiership sides to operate with a lone striker and overload their midfield area, so it will be a refreshing change to see both Birmingham City and Aston Villa revert to a traditional formation in the first Second City derby of the season on Sunday.
Both managers are disciples of their tried-and-trusted 4-4-2 formations, which, in theory, should make for an exciting spectacle. However, don't labour under the impression that a lack of numbers in central midfield equates to the battle for ascendancy being any less important.
Far from it; it was accepted that Birmingham generally dominated the engine-room during the 'Robbie Savage' era but the first post-Savage game at St Andrew's offered no solace to Villa supporters, as they fell to another defeat against their bitterest rivals in March.
Damien Johnson, Darren Carter and Stephen Clemence tilted the fixture in Birmingham's favour to maintain the Premiership jinx they currently hold over Villa.
Jiri Jarosik and Muzzy Izzet are expected to be fit again to provide extra competition in that area, as Birmingham's injury list shows signs of clearing. Birmingham's assistant manager, Eric Black, is under no illusions as to the importance of central midfield supremacy.
The head-to-head clash between Damien Johnson and Steven Davis will be critical. Johnson is a real firebrand and will have no qualms about launching into a physical battle with the precocious talent of Davis, despite being dismissed for Northern Ireland on Wednesday night.
He was shown a straight red card during their defeat in Austria after an altercation with Middlesbrough's Emanuael Pogatetz but Black is backing Johnson to play a huge role in the hot-house atmosphere that will permeate St Andrew's.
"I thought Damien was absolutely magnificent against Liverpool," said Black. "You need people to do all the 'ugly' jobs on the pitch and Damien carries out his job with the minimum of fuss. The midfield will be so important against Villa and it was good to see Stephen Clemence put in such a good performance against Arsenal on his return.
"We will need to be at our best, as Davis and Gareth Barry are key players for Villa and very active."
Black has seen green shoots of recovery poking through the surface in Birmingham's last three Premiership fixtures, despite gleaning just two points.
Being reduced to ten men on each occasion hasn't helped and if the red mist descends once again on Sunday, it could have a devastating effect.
Yet Black is confident that Birmingham's squad is heading in the right direction. "We have lost key players in our last three games and that has had an effect on the outcome," he confessed.
Black, like the rest of the Birmingham camp, will be brimming with confidence after their recent superiority in the derby, which even extends to the backroom staff.
During his days as an Aberdeen player, he regularly locked horns with Villa assistant manager Roy Aitken, then a Celtic stalwart.
While they built up a good friendship during their days with the national squad, there will be a fiercely competitive edge on Sunday.
"When I first joined the Scotland squad, I was only a youngster and Roy, as one of the established players, always made me feel welcome," said Black.
"I will always be grateful for the way he made me feel part of it and we always have a chat when our paths cross.
"He was a very robust player and with him being in central midfield and me playing up front, we weren't in direct opposition.
"However, he was predominantly on the losing side," added Black with a sense of devilment. "I will have to make sure I remind him of the time I scored a hat-trick at Celtic Park and we won 3-1!"