MELBOURNE ruckman Jake Spencer has his sights set on being fit for the club's first NAB Challenge clash after battling a niggling back issue this pre-season.

Spencer was restricted at training before Christmas but is using the Demons' camp in Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast to ensure he regains the appropriate conditioning.

"I had a few back issues leading up to Christmas, which kept me pretty limited in what I could do," Spencer told the club's website.

"Hopefully I'll be in full training by the end of the camp."

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Spencer played the first five games of last season, before a serious ankle injury sidelined him for the rest of 2014 

The big man said his ankle has all but healed and, now, after shaking off the back complaint, is turning his attention to winning a permanent spot back in Melbourne's side.

However, Spencer – who has 29 career games to his name – is well aware that he faces worthy competition from ruck cohorts Mark Jamar and Max Gawn 

"I'm probably not as confident about this year, as much as I was last season, with 'Russian' (Jamar) and Gawny performing well in the pre-season," Spencer said 

"I probably see myself at the bottom of the pecking order at the moment, so that's why I'm keen to get back out there in full training 

"Who knows? Anything can happen. This time last year I was flying and then my ankle gave away early in the season. You never know what situations can come up, so all I can do is train hard and hopefully I'll get an opportunity in the NAB Challenge and show Roosy what I can do." 

Melbourne opens its NAB Challenge series against Fremantle at Fremantle Oval on March 5.