Essendon's tight turnaround between marquee AFL games could tempt them into giving Joe Daniher a week in the VFL before he makes his long-anticipated return.
Coach John Worsfold says the Bombers will decide whether to pull the trigger on a senior return for Daniher, who hasn't played in almost a year, after he trains on Tuesday.
The Bombers face North Melbourne off a six-day break on Good Friday before they take on Collingwood on Anzac Day six days later.
Daniher did not play after round seven last season because of osteitis pubis, while a calf muscle injury sidelined him during the pre-season.
"At the moment he's fit to play full game time. That's a real great sign," Worsfold told reporters before training on Tuesday.
"Everyone's pumped about that. Whether he plays AFL this week or not, there's a lot of factors to take into account ... we're confident he's done enough work.
"The fixtures play a part overall in how we manage Joe throughout the next month, that's an important part of what we'll take into account."
Daniher's return could come at the expense of ruck-forward Zac Clarke, who has made a quiet start since joining the Bombers from Fremantle.
Worsfold said he wouldn't hestitate to throw Daniher into the ruck at times despite his injury history.
"Playing in the ruck, he doesn't jump any higher than he does when he jumps on blokes' heads at full forward," Worsfold said.
"Whether he plays any time in the ruck or not, it doesn't change his workload. In some ways, it lessens it."
Essendon had a dreadful start to the season but improved their record to 2-2 with an impressive win over Brisbane last week.
Livewire forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti booted seven goals and the Bombers played with much greater freedom.
"We haven't taken any shackles off them and we haven't lessened the way we want to play," Worsfold said.
"The fact that they're feeling they're back playing their best footy, that is a mindset thing and that's awesome that that's the way they're feeling."
Australian Associated Press