Essendon won’t rush Michael Hurley or any of the AFL club’s banned players to make a decision on next season.
The Western Bulldogs and a handful of other sides are hoping to sign gun defender Hurley, who is yet to announce his plans for 2017.
Hurley is one of 12 players on the Bombers’ list who have been forced to sit out this season as part of doping sanctions.
Dyson Heppell and Cale Hooker have already declared they’re returning but Hurley headlines a group of banned Bombers yet to announce their intentions.
“For every week that goes on, it is getting tighter. But that doesn’t mean we’re in a rush right now,” coach John Worsfold said on Tuesday.
“Most of the boys are back training now, and two or three are due back this week, which Michael is one.
“That gives us the opportunity to now progress things.
“I’ve been involved in the game for a long time and the length of time (waiting for a player to commit) doesn’t always correlate to mean someone’s leaving.”
Paul Chapman, who played alongside Hurley at Essendon before retiring last year, suggested earlier this week the 26-year-old would leave.
Worsfold is yet contemplate what the club might want in exchange for Hurley, who is contracted to play for the Bombers in 2017.
“Because I’m confident I won’t even have to worry about that (a trade),” he said.
“Michael, I’m very confident, will be playing for Essendon.”
Worsfold confirmed the club would have a new captain on Sunday against Gold Coast, with Brendon Goddard to miss the clash because of a groin injury.
David Zaharakis, Zach Merrett and Joe Daniher are the remaining members of the leadership group in contention to step up.
“I’m comfortable with any of those guys standing in as captain for this week,” Worsfold said, adding he hoped to have Goddard back for the final two rounds of the season.