High-flying Collingwood defender Jeremy Howe will miss Saturday night's clash with Gold Coast due to a stomach virus.

The setback comes as the Pies look to extend their five-game winning run and further strengthen their bid for a top-eigh finish this season, with the Suns now in their sights.

Collingwood have overcome a bevy of injury and illness concerns in recent months, with ruck pair Brodie Grundy (knee) and Aiden Begg (thumb) now the only Magpies currently eyeing returns from injury in the coming weeks.

The shrunken casualty ward has left senior coach Craig McRae with a near-full strength squad as the Magpies head down the final stretch of the season, however illness has seemingly returned to the AIA Centre.

As first revealed by AFL.com.au's Josh Gabelich, Howe will be sidelined for this weekend due to a battle with his health, opening up a spot in McRae's rearguard.

"'Howie' will be out," McRae said, via AFL.com.au. 

"He has unfortunately got a virus to his stomach. I'm not a doctor, so I won't get exactly into the details of it. Unfortunately he won't play this week.

"If the antibiotics do what they are meant to do, he will be back training on Monday. There is a bit to play out."

His absence could see Collingwood blood a debutant in successive weeks, with rookie Charlie Dean a chance to pull on the black and white at AFL level for the first time this weekend.

Dean joined Collingwood through last year's Rookie Draft after a stellar campaign with VFL club Williamstown, earning the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal as the competition's best young player.

"That will be a discussion. Last week he needed the run. I love setting people up to succeed. Whether we throw him in the deep end, I'm not sure if that's what we want to do. But again, his magnet is up there," McRae said on Dean.

A debut for Dean would follow that of Isaac Chugg's against the Giants in Round 15, with the Tasmanian joining Reef McInnes, Aiden Begg and Nick Daicos in playing his maiden match in 2022.

Dean played his first game for Collingwood's reserves last Saturday, collecting 14 disposals and five marks in the 25-point loss to Brisbane.

McRae will also be weighing up further moves to his magnets board for Round 16, with midfielder Jordan De Goey returning to training after being granted personal in the last week.

Collingwood recorded no injuries in their win over GWS, and could welcome both De Goey and Dean into their side to face the Suns at the expense of Howe and potentially Chugg.

The Magpies will travel to Metricon Stadium to face the Suns on Saturday night, with the match to commence at 7:25pm (AEST).