North Melbourne skipper Andrew Swallow will be given every chance to face Collingwood on Sunday as he continues to recover well from thumb surgery.
Swallow missed last weekend’s heavy loss to Fremantle after having an operation on the thumb he fractured against Essendon in round seven.
The skipper trained with his right thumb heavily strapped on Thursday, but coach Brad Scott said he would be named in the extended squad to take on the Magpies with a final decision to be made on Saturday.
“He feels terrific,” Scott said on Thursday.
“It’s actually been a good opportunity to freshen him up a little bit. He’s such a warrior for us and a week off is rare to him, but it will just be a matter of function.
“He’s experiencing very little pain and the surgery meant that the joint and the bone is really strong, so if he can function he’ll play.”
Sunday’s clash is a pivotal one for both clubs with just one game separating the fifth-placed `Pies and the 12th-placed `Roos.
Three of North’s four losses have been by 60 points or more, which Scott agreed was cause for concern, but not cause for alarm given the AFL’s uneven fixture that has seen last year’s top sides meet each other early in the season.
“Four-and-four is not a disaster by any stretch,” he said.
“Other than Sydney we’ve played all the good teams … it means that everything will wash out as the season goes on.”
Ben Brown will return from a knee injury after a one-week absence, with Jarrad Waite also to overcome a minor niggle to play, but Daniel Wells (Achilles) remains out indefinitely despite making some progress.
Leigh Adams, who hasn’t played this season due to concussion concerns, is set to return to the field in the VFL this weekend.
“We’ve been really cautious, and rightfully so,” Scott said.
“It’s been as much up to him. He’s passed all his medical tests and clearances, but we just wanted to make sure that he was in a great mindset when he went out to play.”
Scott confirmed he had been interviewed by Tasmanian police this week over his alleged altercation with a security guard at Blundstone Arena in Hobart in round six.
“I’ve expressed before that I’m willing and able to assist them with their enquiries, which I’ve done,” he said.
“I can’t talk about the matter, but rest assured my mind is on the task at hand against Collingwood.”