Nathan Buckley has called on Travis Cloke to lift as Collingwood reel from their poor start to the AFL season.
The Magpies coach also admitted that Essendon should be fancying their chances in next Monday’s Anzac Day blockbuster.
Cloke suffered an elbow injury in Sunday’s loss to Melbourne and Collingwood will know more on Tuesday about his availability for Anzac Day.
But Buckley said that as their most experienced player, Cloke needs to do more.
“We have to look at his elbow and see how that goes,” Buckley told AFL360.
“But Clokey is one – we have a quite young squad at the moment and he’s a senior player with (237) games of experience.
“We need him to stand up more than he has at this point in time.
“This is going to be a tough period for him.”
Buckley said there were some signs of improvement against Melbourne, but the 40 minutes of the game where the Demons kicked nine goals to one cost the Magpies dearly.
“We can’t afford to give the opposition hope like that and we’re doing that at the moment,” he said.
“Essendon should be feeling like `geez, if we just hang in long enough against this mob, we might be a chance’.”
Buckley noted they have been unable to settle their side because of injuries and they have been unable to play their best football.
“There are legitimate reasons for why that is, but they just sound like excuses when you’re talking from a position where you’re not winning,” he said.
“There are emotive reasons not to hear that on the other side, for our supporters in particular.”
Earlier on Monday, Magpies captain Scott Pendlebury strongly defended Buckley as they come under increasing pressure for their 1-3 start to the season.
“If guys are thinking that all the pressure has just gone onto Nathan and not on them, they’re kidding themselves,” Pendlebury said.
“Ultimately, we’re going out there representing ourselves and our families.
“If you dish up a poor game and think Bucks will cop it for you, you shouldn’t be in the caper.
“Guys are going for million-dollar kicks and things like that, it’s just not good enough.”
Ben Sinclair was concussed in the Melbourne loss, while Ben Reid had knee soreness.
Reid is expected to be fit for the Anzac Day clash.