Tyson Goldsack and Steele Sidebottom will return on Sunday night when Collingwood aim to bounce back after consecutive AFL defeats.
Goldsack missed his side’s last-start losses to Western Bulldogs and Hawthorn due to a knee injury, while Sidebottom has served a three-match ban for his bump on Maverick Weller.
Goldsack trained well on Wednesday and Magpies coach Nathan Buckley confirmed he was ready to go for the clash with rivals Carlton.
Tom Langdon, concussed in the 29-point loss to the Hawks, remains in doubt while defensive general Nick Maxwell (calf) aims to return the following weekend.
Sidebottom will be physically refreshed after his enforced break, although the 23-year-old has worked hard at training to ensure he stayed sharp.
“Bill Davoren runs the fitness side of things and we discussed really early what that four-week period (leading up to the clash with Carlton) was going to look like for Steele,” Buckley said.
“He’s done a lot of work. He’s an endurance athlete that covers 15kms a game, so you need to replace that somehow.
“His touch is good and he’ll be right to go.”
Considered a top-four chance a fortnight ago, the Magpies’ place in the finals will be anything but assured if they slip up against the Blues.
Buckley was unwilling to humour such a long-term view on Wednesday.
The former captain pointed to inexperience as the reason behind Collingwood’s recent defensive woes.
But Buckley was confident his side could turn it around, starting with an out-of-sorts opposition that have dropped their past four matches.
“They will be smarting from their recent form and clearly there’s a bit of rivalry there,” Buckley said, adding that he didn’t envisage talking to Blues coach Mick Malthouse at Thursday’s Peter Mac Cup Breakfast.
“I don’t want to see him do well on the weekend and I’m sure he doesn’t want to see me do well,” Buckley said of Malthouse, who coached Collingwood to their 2010 premiership.
The Peter Mac Cup aims to raise funds and awareness for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
This season it will be played at the perplexing timeslot of 7.10pm on Sunday.
“It (scheduling) is pretty much like umpiring decisions. There’s no use bellyaching about it because you can’t change much,” Buckley said.