MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 15: Joe Daniher of the Bombers sprints during an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at The Hangar on May 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Essendon legend Tim Watson has expressed ‘real concerns’ over the long-term fitness of star forward Joe Daniher, who is still battling chronic groin problems in the last year of his contract with the Bombers.

The 26-year old has not played a senior game in over 12 months and remained at Essendon after an unsuccessful trade request to Sydney last offseason.

Essendon coach John Worsfold spoke at a press conference Tuesday, stating his return remains “a fair way off” and was unable to give a definitive answer if Daniher will play at all in 2020.

Speaking on SEN before Worsfold’s press conference, Essendon great Tim Watson expressed his concerns over Daniher’s future.

“I wouldn’t say grave concerns, I’ve got real concerns though having watched them return to training yesterday and then understand that he is still at what I was told last night around 80 per cent,” he said on SEN.

“Now I think that’s probably being a bit generous.”

“He’s 80 per cent ready to get back to full training … I think they are being really optimistic, but we’ve been hearing this for a long time about how close Joe is to resuming full training.”

“He missed the start of the season, he’s had an interrupted pre-season so he hasn’t been able to involve himself in any full training, you have another almost seven weeks off and he’s still at that point where he can’t join in full training.”

“You’ve got to start to get really concerned about his ability to be able to get over whatever this injury is, this groin-related injury. It’s got to be a major concern.

“He desperately wants to come back and play. I don’t think he’s going to play a lot of footy this year but I think he will play this year.”