North Melbourne co-captain Jy Simpkin has been withdrawn from this Sunday's match against Essendon after coach Alastair Clarkson revealed he is carrying a deep strain in his quad.

Simpkin did not make the Northern Territory trip last weekend for his side's 68-point loss to Gold Coast, with his initial diagnosis recorded as quad tightness.

The club said he would be tested in the lead-up to Sir Doug Nicholls Round and all seemed well after being named at selection in the midfield for the Essendon clash this weekend.

Unfortunately, he will not play, with Clarkson confirming a deep quad strain, leaving him unable to exert full capacity in his kicks.

"We have a bit of a battle with our skipper. He's been selected to play but it's highly unlikely," Clarkson said on Friday.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Jy Simpkin of the Kangaroos looks dejected after a loss during the 2024 AFL Round 03 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium on March 29, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"We planned to integrate him in the second half of training but he wasn't able.

"It's a deep strain in his quad; he can run but to kick full length is a concern."

The injury compounds the loss of young guns Colby McKercher and Jackson Archer, the former experiencing bone stress in his foot while the latter nurses an ankle injury.

"We'll see how Colby McKercher pulls up as well," Clarkson added.

"We've got a bye coming up so we've got an eye on that. We won't take risks, and hopefully, we'll get them right for the second half of the year."

Midfielders Will Phillips and Dylan Stephens were also left out of the side, providing more opportunity for Miller Bergman, Curtis Taylor and Toby Pink to contribute to a struggling side.

The Phillips omission in particular will irk a number of fans who want experience pumped into young players like him despite form struggles.

Phillips' 19 disposals and four score involvements in last week's loss should arguably have been enough to keep him in the side, especially for a 21-year-old on the rise with little experience at the top level.

With Simpkin's absence especially, Phillips' presence may be a necessity by Sunday, but not according to Clarkson.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Alastair Clarkson, Senior Coach of the Kangaroos addresses his team at quarter time during the 2023 AFL Round 02 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Optus Stadium on March 25, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

"It's just the balance of the team, he's (Phillips) the fourth in the pecking order in his position," Clarkson added.

"We played an extra inside mid in Darwin given the conditions but Marvel will be a bit quicker. That's why he's fallen out of the team."

Unfortunately, a win doesn't seem to be on the horizon for the 0-9 Roos, facing the in-form Bombers in two days before a meeting with the Power ahead of their Round 12 bye.

The pressure on coach Clarkson ramps up every week as each loss is added to the record, fans will simply be hoping for four quarters of effort this Sunday at Marvel Stadium.