John Noble during Collingwood's match against the Western Bulldogs in R12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

COLLINGWOOD will be without John Noble for Friday night's blockbuster against Essendon, while Beau McCreery is also expected to be sidelined with a calf strain.

Noble has entered the AFL's concussion protocols after undergoing a head injury assessment in the fourth quarter of the 11-point loss to Gold Coast on Saturday.

After missing out on selection in last year's finals series, Noble has grabbed his spot back in Craig McRae’s best 23 in 2024.

Noble has played the past 12 games straight since being recalled for the Easter Thursday fixture against Brisbane in round three.

McCreery was substituted out of the game at People First Stadium in the third quarter after injuring his calf and is facing some time on the sidelines.

Second-year forward Joe Richards replaced McCreery in his first game back from a fractured metatarsal and made an instant impact with five of his six touches being score involvements.

Beau McCreery and Jordan De Goey ahead of Collingwood's game against Gold Coast in R16, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Collingwood regained premiership players Jordan De Goey, Scott Pendlebury, Brody Mihocek and Oleg Markov for the trip to Queensland, but are still missing a few key players.

Jamie Elliott (vascular), Mason Cox (knee) and Tom Mitchell (foot) are all at least a fortnight away or up to a month from returning.

Mitchell hasn’t played since Anzac Day due to a lingering plantar fascia issue, which required surgery at the start of June.

Dan McStay is back in full training and closing in on a return to playing after recovering from the knee reconstruction he underwent last December.

The key forward doesn't have a clear return date but is likely to play some minutes in the VFL later this month.