HAYDEN Ballantyne is set for a make-or-break return to senior football, with Fremantle preparing to pull the trigger on the feisty small forward's comeback from injury against bitter rivals Geelong.

Meanwhile, giant ruckman Aaron Sandilands will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness and face the Cats after battling hamstring tendon inflammation.

Match preview: Geelong v Fremantle

Ballantyne has not played AFL this season after ripping a hamstring tendon in the final JLT Community Series game and breaking down again in his comeback game for Peel a month ago. 

But this time the 141-game veteran is set to come directly into the Dockers' line-up for the daunting trip to face Geelong, replacing tenacious forward Brady Grey (hamstring). 

"I think he deserves that," coach Ross Lyon said.

"We know how hard he trains. He really competes. There's certainly plenty of opportunities there and it would be good to have his leadership as well. 

"He'll have to get through (training) today and Friday. But we think we'll pick him."

Ballantyne, who turns 30 next month and is out of contract at the end of this year, could be fighting for his career in the second half of the season.

Lyon wouldn't be drawn on Ballantyne's future, but expected the veteran to bring experience and spark to a Freo line-up that limped into the bye with three straight losses.

"His brand is one of energy and competing, and that's why he's sustained AFL football at a high level," Lyon said.

"We value him. He loves the club. But at the end of the day it's a profession. He needs to come to commercial terms.  

"That's (his contract) a back story that doesn't involve me. Probably at some point it will, but it's certainly not relevant at the minute."

Lyon said Sandilands still has "to jump a few hurdles" and is facing a critical few days before taking his seat on the flight to Victoria.

The 34-year-old was sorely missed in losses to Adelaide, Collingwood and the Lions before the bye, when Freo's midfield was well beaten.

Sandilands made a brief appearance on the training track on Wednesday, but only completed stationary handball exercises, while Lachie Neale and Ed Langdon (knee) didn't join the main group. 

Meanwhile, Lyon again hosed down ongoing concerns about superstar skipper Nat Fyfe playing sore. 

Fyfe's form in his return from a broken leg has been under scrutiny – he had 18 touches and booted two goals against the Lions – and the Brownlow medallist wore a chest guard last match.

"There's no doubt on him. Nathan hasn't had any conversations to me about, 'I'm sore'," Lyon said.

"But clearly he's had some bruising. But that's all it is. There's no fractures. There's just been some bruising. 

"It's not something I've engaged in him with. And Nathan doesn't like to make a fuss about it.

"I know he's led us really well."