MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Brandon Zerk-Thatcher of the Bombers marks the ball 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)

A 10-day break could be the difference in Essendon having key-position duo Brandon Zerk-Thatcher and Harrison Jones available for Tuesday's Anzac Day clash against Collingwood at the MCG.

Following on from their upset Gather Round win over Melbourne the Bombers enter an extended period for rest given their Round 6 encounter against the Magpies won't come until next week.

While the Bombers won't have skipper Zach Merrett due to suspension, both Jones and Zerk-Thatcher could remain in Brad Scott's side despite ankle injuries sustained against Melbourne.

Essendon will have key forward Sam Weideman available for selection following his period under the AFL's concussion protocols, with the former Demon a chance to replace Jones if needed.

The duo could combine to tackle Collingwood's tall defenders next week, with Bombers performance boss Dan McPherson revealing that Jones and Zerk-Thatcher remain in the mix for selection.

"'Jonesy' and 'Thatch' suffered ankle injuries on the weekend," McPherson said in a club injury update.

"They'll be on modified programs early in the week, but the longer break gives them both a good chance to be available to play."

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Nikolas Cox (left) and Harrison Jones of the Bombers look dejected after a loss during the 2021 AFL Round 16 match between the Geelong Cats and the Essendon Bombers at GMHBA Stadium on July 2, 2021 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Essendon are likely to look toward second-year midfielder Ben Hobbs as a viable replacement for the suspended Merrett.

Meanwhile, young defender Zach Reid is in line to play his first minutes of football of the year when Essendon's reserves clash with Collingwood's VFL side on Sunday.

Reid has battled with a back injury for the majority of 2023, with this weekend set to give the former top 10 pick his first chance back in the action.

"Zach will be available for selection this week," McPherson said.

"He's ticked off all the relevant markers we needed from him and we can't wait to see him out there."

Swingman Kaine Baldwin is likely to join Reid at VFL level this week, returning from a recent concussion.

Essendon and Collingwood will clash at the MCG for their Anzac Day match at 3:20pm (AEST) on Tuesday, while their VFL sides will go head-to-head at Victoria Park two days earlier.