Essendon could have forward spark Jake Stringer back for Saturday's matchup with North Melbourne, with the Dons livewire to be put through his paces over the coming days at training to prove his fitness for the weekend.

Stringer has missed the past two matches due to a foot injury, with the former Bulldogs needing to increase his workload ahead of the clash with the Kangaroos to be a chance of making his return for Essendon's must-win match.

Senior coach Brad Scott has confirmed the club's selection committee will have "some options" this week as they weigh up changes to the squad that narrowly avoided defeat to West Coast.

For Stringer, the Bombers are hoping to see the 29-year-old at the peak of his powers at training if he is to be any chance of playing against North Melbourne.

"We know he's a strength and power athlete, so he's got to be able to produce that strength, power, speed and change of direction," Scott told reporters on Wednesday. "If he can do that then he'll come into our side.

"It's always frustrating for any player that can get to their best. With some of these injuries, there's a risk in the courage and bravery to play. But if they're unable to produce their best I just don't think that it does them or the team any service.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Jake Stringer of the Bombers celebrates a goal during the round 16 AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Sydney Swans at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 02, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

"He wants to get out there and play for us, but we just want him at his best. The team certainly looks better on paper with him in it at his best, but if he's not physically right to go then we shouldn't play him."

Scott confirmed Stringer was the key piece in their selection plans, while a number of players stood out at VFL level to press their case for recalls.

Recruit Will Setterfield made his return through the VFL last weekend against Southport after recovering from his own foot injury, recording 20 disposals in what was a successful comeback appearance.

Young forward pair Tex Wanganee and Patrick Voss combined for seven goals between them to see their names in potentially fall under Scott's decision-making, while Kaine Baldwin has continued to impress as a defensive option at the state league level.

"We've got some options," Scott said.

"Will Setterfield got through his comeback game in the VFL and played well. Some good form in the VFL (from others) as well.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 01: Jye Menzie of the Bombers (L) celebrates with Will Setterfield of the Bombers (C) after combining for a goal during the round three AFL match between St Kilda Saints and Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground, on April 01, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

"The main one is Jake Stringer, who's really keen to play and prove his fitness at training. We're potentially excited about that, but we'll be putting him through his paces to make sure that he's right to go and functioning at the high level we know he can.

"That's probably the main one out of the guys coming back from injury."

Scott couldn't guarantee whether ruckman Sam Draper or midfielder Dylan Shiel will return this season, with the duo battling hip and foot injuries respectively.

Draper is seen to be "progressing really well" as he looks to build his workloads, while Shield is Shiel "moving fantastically", but is struggling with the agility side of his running.

Essendon will face North Melbourne at 1:45pm (AEST) at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

 2023-08-12T03:45:00Z 
 
 
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