HOLDING players, diamond midfields, isolated strikers - it really has been a case of formation, formation, formation at Ipswich Town this season.

Most fans have been unable to decide how the Blues should line-up this season, never mind who should play in what positions.

Paul Jewell has consistently said he favours a 4-4-2 but questions whether he has the personnel (whether that is the manager's fault after bringing in a dozen players should perhaps be saved for another time).

Now after trying 4-5-1, 4-3-3, 4-1-3-2 as well as 4-4-2, it was a case of diamond lights at Portman Road on Monday night.

No not Waddle and Hoddle taking to the pitch at half-time to strut their stuff, but a diamond midfield which mimicked Coventry City's formation, but showed the Sky Blues how to play it properly.

It might not work in every match, and two daunting trips to Middlesbrough and West Ham will certainly test it to the limit, but taking one game at a time, it has to be hailed as a success.

Now let me throw another formation in the mix. Well to be exact, it actually comes from a number of fans who believe that Jewell has the right personnel, when fit, to start with a 5-3-2/3-5-2, depending on your interpretation.

Ivar Ingimarsson as sweeper, Aaron Cresswell and Carlos Edwards bombing up and down the flanks,  Jimmy Bullard in the free role and Jason Scotland and Michael Chopra upfront. There are certainly good arguments for this formation, even if it is little used these days.

Of course, this was not always the case.

Allow me to wallow in one of my favourite football memories...Italia 90. Bobby Robson had gone into the tournament with the knives of the national press close to his throat and a 1-1 opening match draw against the Republic of Ireland had not helped.

Something had to give. Depending on who you believe and read, either the senior players spoke to Robson to convince him to play three centre backs or it was a masterstroke from the manager. 

Either way, the results were truly sensational. The European champions Holland were given the fright of their life and then came David Platt's last minute winner, Gary Lineker's penalties and Gazza's tears.

Great times, under a great man. 

Back to the present day, I'm not sure if Jewell's diamond formation will work in every game, but it certainly gave cause for optimism. 

As for the 5-3-2, muted by many fans on our ITFC webchat, it seems the injury problems that Ingimarsson and Ibrahima Sonko might have this season could put pay to what is, on paper, a very intriguing concept.

So it seems the manager will continue to play a narrow midfield after the success against Coventry. But then wingless wonders have worked before....