Essendon are hoping to have up to five players available for selection following their Round 14 bye, with the mid-season break to come after a disappointing loss to rivals Carlton on Sunday night.

The Bombers fell to the Blues at the MCG by 26 points in front of a near-90,000 crowd, with execution in the front half a clear downside in Essendon's outing.

The Bombers kicked nine goals from 60 inside 50s for the night, while Carlton managed 15 from their 41 entries to pull themselves into the top two on the ladder - taking Essendon's rung.

Brad Scott's men will have the next week off before returning the week after against West Coast on June 23, with the Bombers likely to have a suit of players utilising the bye within their rehabilitation period.

The Bombers could be without midfielder Will Setterfield however, with the onballer suspected to have hurt the same knee that plagued the opening half of his 2024 campaign.

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 26-year-old returned to the side on Sunday for his first game since Round 4, having faced setbacks during his bid to return from a knee injury.

While Scott had no word on the extent of Setterfield's latest concern, he did note it was the same knee that has hampered his year.

"Not yet, no," Scott said when asked if he had an update on Setterfield's status.

"He looked like he fell on his knee, from where I sat. I didn't even ask for a report, we just needed to activate a sub anyway, so we just made that.

"I'll follow up with that later."

The Bombers coach flagged several key players should be available for selection come the West Coast game, with the likes of Mason Redman (hamstring), Ben Hobbs (calf), Xavier Duursma (quad), Kaine Baldwin (foot) and Sam Draper (knee) all potentially a chance to return given their listed timeframes.

Their eventual returns will further add to the club's depth that has gained appreciation from Scott, who has been able to shift magnets when needed this year during matches.

The Bombers were able to move Nic Martin to the front half against the Blues late into the game to find some spark, while small forward Jye Menzie earned some recognition for his first ever defensive role.

When questioned on Martin's role and influence, Scott touched on the number of players the club can call on to change up their positions mid-game while also confirming a handful of players should be back in the side over the coming weeks.

"We trained him in a different position over the pre-season to have that flexibility to play him in different roles," the Essendon coach said.

"He's not the only one, we've got a number of players that we can move around based on how the game is going.

Nic Martin during the AFL match between Essendon and Adelaide, Round 4, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Zero Digital Media

"Redman was a big loss tonight, not only because he's a good player but also structurally for us. It changed things up. We learnt things.

"I thought Jye Menzie was good playing in defence for the first time in his life, he's never played there. We had a pretty quick upskill for him to play in that role.

"Then we had to shuffle the rest of the team to move guys around. We didn't have that flex last year, we were a bit limited, particularly if we lost some personnel.

"That part of our game and our depth is improving. Post-bye there should be four or five players who should be available that weren't today."

Having lost their past two matches, Essendon have now slipped to third on the ladder with eight wins, four defeats and a draw from their 13 games.

They'll host West Coast at Marvel Stadium in Round 15 before facing Geelong at the MCG the week after.