Pies to cobble up forward answers

Collingwood will rely on a cobbled together forward line as they attempt to snap a four-game losing run this weekend.

With Travis Cloke (calf) and Jamie Elliott (back) sidelined, the Pies will take on the Western Bulldogs without their two leading goal kickers.

Cloke’s loss is particularly glaring given his importance to the side’s structure and coach Nathan Buckley said it wouldn’t be down to one player to try to fill the power forward’s big shoes.

“We’ll have to cobble up a front six that we know is going to get the job done in our offence but also put enough pressure on up the ground,” Buckley said.

“When we’ve played our best footy it’s been a spread of goal kickers and that’s come from an offensive system, not necessarily an individual.

“We need everyone to come to the party to help us kick a winning score.”

Cloke injured a calf early in last week’s loss to West Coast, with scans revealing he suffered a strain rather than a tear, which might only rule him out for one game.

Elliott is a different proposition, with the livewire forward set to test a stress reaction in his back later this week or early next as the Pies try to get a feel for when he can return to the field.

Tyson Goldsack is a chance to return from a knee injury if he trains well on Friday, but important tall Ben Reid’s season of frustration continues.

“It’s a bit like Groundhog Day, we’ve been here probably three or four times this year, but Reidy’s doing everything diligently,” Buckley said.

“We’re trying different things as we go along and we feel like he’s getting stronger month on month.

“We’re looking for that breakthrough, as is he.”

Reid will return to the VFL side this weekend if he gets through Friday’s training session after missing last week’s match with a calf issue.

The Pies have slipped out of the eight on the back of the run of losses, but Buckley denied the club’s past month had dented his players’ confidence.

In other news, Buckley said that he expects some clarity around the futures of Lachie Keeffe and Josh Thomas in the next few weeks, after the pair tested positive for the banned substance Clenbuterol earlier this year.

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