Collingwood are sweating on the fitness of key duo Scott Pendlebury and Darcy Moore ahead of Friday night’s AFL clash against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
Pendlebury hobbled out of last week’s loss to Richmond with a foot injury, while Moore missed that match with a hamstring strain.
Both players will face a fitness test later in the week, with the Pies skipper rested from training on Tuesday.
“Pendles is a tough competitor,” coach Nathan Buckley told reporters.
“I’ve said it continually … with the things that he takes onto the field, and carries, that other blokes normally wouldn’t and because he’s a Rolls Royce and we see him as an elite player it doesn’t often even hit the public forum.
“He’s battling with that injury but we’ll give him every chance.”
Moore’s battle to return to a forward line that bore the brunt of Buckley’s wrath after the 15-point loss to the Tigers is evenly poised.
“He’s probably 51-49 … I won’t tell you which way,” Buckley said with a smile.
“He’ll work towards proving his fitness but we won’t be taking any risks with him.”
The coach softened his stance on his forwards on Tuesday, lamenting a lack of team defence across the board for what he described as the worst three quarters the Pies have put up this season.
Buckley maintains Collingwood, 12th on the ladder with eight wins, are playing for more than just pride in the remaining three games of their campaign.
“We’re still working really diligently to get the best out of this period and we’ve got some big challenges,” he said.
“So we can still take some big steps forward in the way that we approach it.
“It wasn’t to be (this season) and we have had a couple of hard, tough years as a footy club, but we feel like we’re starting to understand the blokes who can (perform) and the blokes who can’t and we will keep making decisions around that.”