Ruckman Tom Bellchambers and midfielder David Myers will return for Essendon’s game against Sydney, who have lost Ben McGlynn.
Essendon have finally regained Tom Bellchambers, but coach Mark Thompson admits they are unsure what he will give them in his AFL return.
Friday night’s clash with Sydney at Etihad Stadium will be Bellchambers’ first senior game this year after he had off-season ankle surgery.
The Bombers also regained midfielder David Myers (hamstring), who has not played since round five.
“I’m not sure whether we’re going to get his (Bellchambers’) best game of footy, but at least he’s back in the team and he’s going to get going,” Thompson said on the club website.
Earlier on Thursday, Thompson said Bellchambers had received needed a nerve block treatment in his ankle.
But the Bombers coach added it was unrelated to the original injury.
Bellchambers and Myers were brought in for Paul Chapman, who is suspended, and youngster Martin Gleeson.
“We haven’t played too much young stuff because when you play Sydney, you’ve got to have a big, strong side,” Thompson said.
“You’re going to get hit pretty hard and we’re up for that.”
The Swans lost Ben McGlynn to illness and brought in Brandon Jack.
Sydney will start favourites on the back of a four-game winning streak, including last weekend’s win over premiership fancies Hawthorn.
Last weekend was the first time this season that the Swans have been able to play their powerful forward combination of Lance Franklin, Kurt Tippett, Sam Reid and Adam Goodes.
Thompson has been determined to play Jake Carlisle in attack, but he might have no choice but to put the key position player in defence.
Veteran Dustin Fletcher will have to play on an opponent and abandon his usual role as spare backman.
Franklin in particular has terrorised Essendon, kicking 50 games in 10 games against them for his former club Hawthorn.
“We’ve certainly talked about a lot of scenarios and that (Carlisle in defence) was one of them – we’re not 100 per cent sure as we stand right now,” Thompson said.
“My impression (of their forward line) is tall, very tall … dangerous.
“We’re going to try and do the right match-ups and Dustin (Fletcher) is going to have to play on a tall.
“(Franklin) gets on little runs of form and he’s there now, (but) three or four weeks ago everyone was very critical of the club.
“It’s amazing how he can come out of something so bad and turn it into something so good.”
Thompson added the Bombers would need to lift their own game 20 to 30 per cent and make sure the Swans went inside 50m under pressure.
“They’re at the top of their game right now, ‘Buddy’ and all of the other forwards,” he said.
“They’re getting good opportunities, they’re getting good delivery and they’re making the most of it.”