Jason Horne-Francis during the round 23 match between Fremantle and Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium, August 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

PORT Adelaide midfielder Jason Horne-Francis is pushing to return from a hamstring injury for Friday night's Gather Round clash against Essendon.

Horne-Francis, who has missed the past two games, trained strongly on Tuesday to raise hopes of being available.

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"He got through training which is a huge tick, especially coming off a hamstring ... he looks like he's moving really well," teammate Dan Houston told reporters.

"He still needs to get through captain's run (training) but I assume he'll be a chance."

Dan Houston (left) and Jason Horne-Francis celebrate a goal during the match between Essendon and Port Adelaide at the MCG in round 16, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Horne-Francis' return would be a boost for the Power as they digest their seven-point loss to Melbourne last Saturday night.

Port controlled key statistics - it had 21 more inside 50s, more disposals and more scoring shots than the Demons, but still lost.

"We felt like we dominated in a lot of areas, all bar getting the win," Houston said.

"Our focus this week has been on those little things and making sure we're getting better and improving.

"It was round three but we've learned some very valuable lessons."


The eighth-placed Power and the Bombers (ninth) both have two wins and a loss entering their Adelaide Oval encounter, which will be Houston's 150th game.

The classy half-back said his milestone was significant, given his journey from being a 2016 rookie pick to an All-Australian.

"When I got drafted, the first thing was I just wanted to play one game," he said.

"And then once I played one and got a taste of it, I just wanted to keep playing.

"It's hard, you're always down the pecking order when you come in as a rookie-listed player - and I definitely deserved to be a rookie, I'm not going to shy away from that, I had a lot to work on.

"I felt like I improved pretty rapidly in one year and then was able to play some footy so I think it was a good challenge for me and then you always try build each year."