MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: Sam Weideman of the Bombers celebrates a goal with Sam Draper of the Bombers during the 2023 AFL Round 01 match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Essendon Bombers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 19, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Essendon coach Brad Scott has come to the defence of struggling forward Sam Weideman, who is battling through a goalless run in the red and black.

Weideman last kicked a major in his side's Round 10 win over Richmond, seeing the former Melbourne spearhead endure seven successive matches without a goal to his name. Weideman has gone without a goal in a total of 10 of his 15 games this year, booting 13 goals in his five other matches.

The 26-year-old has been limited in his impact on games in recent weeks, prompting questions as to whether Scott should look to move Weideman to the VFL to potentially recapture confidence.

When quizzed as to whether that was a strategy he would consider, Scott said any finger-pointing over recent results shouldn't be directed at one player in particular.

"I always find it interesting that when a team has a poor performance that you can single out certain players. That's not a reality," Scott said of his under-fire forward.

"We've been really supportive of Sam and will continue to be. We'll continue to do what's best for our team and won't be swayed or influenced by anyone else's opinion other than our own."

While Weideman's place in the team comes under some consideration, the Bombers will be weighing up further selection calls for Friday's clash with the Western Bulldogs.

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Defender Jayden Laverde is in the mix for selection despite an ankle injury that saw the backman subbed out of last weekend's 77-point loss to Geelong. The Bombers pulled Laverde from the match as a precaution rather than making a forced change.

Laverde will need to pass fitness tests over the coming days before being deemed eligible for selection to face the Bulldogs.

Midfielder Dylan Shiel is continuing to battle soreness and is unlikely to suit up against the Bulldogs. Scott mentioned to media on Tuesday that it was important that his players weren't selected whilst carrying an injury to avoid external scrutiny of their form.

"He's not 100%, that's the bottom line," Scott said.

"It's a frustrating injury where it's not so debilitating that he can't run or move, but he can't produce what he's so good at.

"We've just had a really strong view all year that we want them at their best. We could push them out there well below their best but that just starts a bit of a vicious spiral. Then we start to talk about their form rather than the injury.

"We're not prepared to go into detail about some of the injuries the players are carrying, but very quickly an injury can devolve into form concerns, and we just don't want that to happen."

After carrying the ruck workload on his own shoulders against Geelong, young tall Nick Bryan could pair with veteran Andrew Phillips to combat All-Australian chance Tim English on Friday night.

With Phillips returning from his one-game suspension, Scott noted a decision on choosing either both ruckmen or just one isn't clear cut.

That selection scenario will continue over the coming weeks as first-string ruckman Sam Draper remains sidelined with a hip issue.

"(A Draper return isn't) this week or next week at this stage," the Bombers coach said.

"Unfortunately, that's about the time frame (the medical team) can give me. It's not this week or next week, it might be the week after, but we'll address that when we come to it.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Sam Draper of the Bombers celebrates a goal during the round five AFL match between Essendon Bombers and Melbourne Demons at Adelaide Oval, on April 15, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

"Until he's (back at) main training he won't play."

Another selection matter comes in the form of Pick 5 selection Elijah Tsatas, who has been among Essendon's best VFL performers over the past month.

The teenager recorded game-highs for disposals (31) and clearances (11) in the Bombers' win over Geelong at Kardinia Park on Sunday to further press his case for a debut.

When asked on Tsatas' playing chances, Scott admitted flashy midfielder isn't far away from a maiden match in the top flight, however the club's selection committee is hoping to find the right "balance" from their exciting draftee first.

"We're at the stage with our team where we've got a lot of players who are pushing for selection, it's a challenge," Scott said.

"There was evidence on the weekend that we've got to bridge the gap to the best teams in the competition, but we're in that phase where we've got a lot of players playing good footy, so we've got selection headaches. It's a good problem to have.

"Elijah is playing some good footy, but we take the view that when players come in to play AFL footy that they've got to be ready for it. Elijah has got some attributes that are AFL-ready, but we want to make sure he's got the complete balance.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Charlie Lazzaro of North Melbourne chases Elijah Tsatas of Essendon during the round 11 VFL match between Essendon Bombers and North Melbourne Kangaroos at The Hangar on June 04, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

"It's very tempting to bring him into our squad, but we've got to be really diligent that he's going to be well-prepared for it. He's not far off."

Essendon will host the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium at 7:50pm (AEST) on Friday night.