Collingwood’s JLT Community Series game against Essendon might be just a pre-season match for some, but for Jamie Elliot it’s going to be an emotional night.

The 24-year-old missed the entire 2016 season with a back injury and wasn’t sure he would ever return.

The forward struggled with a pars defect injury in his back and was operated on in May, after the intra-club match last week he declared it has been an emotional return.

“I am sure when I walk on the ground, there will be a tear flowing,” Elliott said last week.

“To be honest, I didn’t know what was going to happen.

“I had good days and bad days; I still do.”

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury said he wasn’t sure if Elliot would ever make it back.

“I hope he doesn’t tear up because there’s a lot worse things than missing a season of football,” Pendlebury joked.

“I think everyone had concerns that he wasn’t going to get back.

“He was pretty nervous at the time. Any time you have to go and have back surgery, it’s pretty scary.

“Since day one of the pre-season, he’s been back out here. You can just see the love of football he’s got. He appreciates it that much more now that he’s had 12 months out so we’re looking forward to him coming back.”

Elliot has been named in the Collingwood squad to face Essendon on Thursday night. Check out the full squad here.