Whether it's three, four or five at the back, Ed Upson says MK Dons set out with the best formation to win games.
With the return to fitness of Joe Walsh, Robbie Neilson was able to play his preferred formation of 3-5-2 on Tuesday night in the 1-1 draw with Walsall. Having seen it in various forms for periods this season, it took shape at Stadium MK and looks set to be the first choice of line-up for Dons.
With a midfield trio similar to the 4-2-3-1 formation of old, it still requires the central players to work box-to-box, one sitting deeper while the others cover every blade of grass to cover.But while talk is of which formation will best suit Dons going forwards, Upson says the formation is primarily arranges to stop the opposition.
"We look at what the other teams do and work to stop that," he said. "We work on it all week in training so we know exactly what we're doing. Sometimes, the gaffer will change it during a game, but we will know what he wants.
"Whatever works, we want to play that way. If he plays, 3-5-2 or 4-1-4-1, which ever shape wins the game is the one we'll be happiest with.
"As a central midfielder, your role is to do everything. Defend, attack, cover, support - it's a position wherre I cover a lot of ground on the wing, in the box, dropping off to get the ball. I look to contribute every way possible."
Neilson was impressed with the way his side played in his 'three-at-the-back' formation on Tuesday, and feels having multiple formations in their locker will help give them some much-needed variety.
He said: "It went well. We've been trying to do it all season but we really needed a left-sided centre half and we were waiting on Joe (Walsh) really to get fit.
"We tried it for about 20 minutes against Portsmouth to change things up a bit and get a foothold in the game there, but tonight it worked well. It's something we'll develop, and assess it before Saturday. The players coped well with it.
"We need to be able to change things up."
Upson, having spent a few games on the sidelines with a hip injury during September, has been a key part of the rotating midfield trio, with Ouss Cisse, Alex Gilbey, Conor McGrandles and Aaron Tshibola all taking up the mantle at some stage this season.
Most recently, Upson has been playing alongside Cisse and Gilbey, who has taken over the captain's armband in the absence of George Williams and Dean Lewington.
And the former Millwall man, now into his second season at Stadium MK, feels their partnership is only getting better in the centre of the park.
He said: "Our partnership will come good. We're good mates off the field too. We rotate quite a bit in that midfield - like on Tuesday, Ouss dropped deep, sometimes I was in there and he moved forwards. As a trio, we can form a decent partnership."