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Dees' Xmas bonus with ex-Dons to join full training

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 07:  Jake Melksham and Michael Hibberd of the Demons run laps with their new team mates during a Melbourne Demons AFL pre-season training session at Gosch's Paddock on November 7, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Jake Melksham and Michael Hibberd are set to join in full training after Christmas

MELBOURNE expects former Essendon pair Jake Melksham and Michael Hibberd to join the team's football program full-time post-Christmas.

However the club is taking a cautious approach with their preparation as they integrate them into the squad after a season out of football.

Melbourne fitness boss Dave Misson told melbournefc.com.au that Melksham and Hibberd had arrived at the Demons for pre-season training in good shape, but it was sensible to take things slowly.

"[We're] making sure we build their base and don't throw them …  into the football program straight away without getting a real good handle on where they are at," Misson said.

"They both need a little bit more base work [and we're] looking at them being full on into the footy program post-Christmas."

The two players served season-long bans in 2016 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport suspended 34 past and present Essendon players for breaching anti-doping code rules.

Melksham was already a Melbourne player before being banned while Hibberd joined the Demons during this year's trade period.

Misson said he was looking forward to working with Hawthorn's four-time premiership player Jordan Lewis after Melbourne claimed the veteran during this year's trade period.

"[He has a] lot of pre-seasons under his belt, so he'll really help the young kids cope with what is a pretty solid three-month period before they start playing," Misson said.