ADELAIDE midfield coach Michael Godden expects Bryce Gibbs to remain at the club next season, but wouldn't comment on whether the trade to secure the former Carlton midfielder has been a failure.
Gibbs, 30, was dropped for the third time this season when he was overlooked for Saturday night's crucial encounter with Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval.
The 260-game veteran performed a valuable tagging role on Melbourne star Clayton Oliver in the second half of last weekend's two point win in Darwin after coming in as a late replacement for the injured Matt Crouch.
However, with Crouch returning from a hip complaint and with 43 of 44-listed players available, Gibbs has lost his spot in the side as the Crows search for the right balance of grunt and outside run to topple the imposing Giants.
Gibbs has two years to run on a lucrative four-year deal, but Godden believes he'll remain at the club despite being currently out of favour.
GIBBS DROPPED AGAIN All the round 12 teams
"I would think so," Godden told reporters on Friday.
"We've been very clear with Bryce and he's been exceptional in the way he's accepted part of the responsibility as well of where he sits.
"I would have no hesitancy to say that Bryce would want to be around."
Gibbs' inability to lock down a regular spot brings into the question the deal the Crows made with the Blues at the end of 2017.
The Crows handed over two first-round draft picks (No. 10 and No. 16 overall), pick 73 and their 2018 second-round pick in exchange for Gibbs, pick 77 and Carlton's 2018 second-round and third-round picks.
Godden – who is in his first year at the Crows – didn't want to weigh into the discussion.
"The trade's not really something I want to comment on," he said.
"The balance of our midfield is a significant challenge.
"Bryce hasn't done a lot wrong, but the balance of the team overrides that."
The omission of Gibbs wasn't the only tough selection call at the Crows.
Big-bodied midfielder Hugh Greenwood was left out of the side with the match committee preferring Cam Ellis-Yolmen, who is having a career-best season.
"Hugh's very unlucky because he's had a very strong year," Godden said.
"His work in close is as good as anybody.
"We value what Cameron's done this year and we just felt he's just edged him out."
Co-captain Rory Sloane has been cleared to play after passing a fitness test on his injured hamstring, but the club will see how he pulls up on Saturday morning before making a final call.
Godden admitted the club's medical staff would take their five-day break into next Thursday night's game with Richmond into account.
Veteran Richard Douglas returns for his first game since suffering a serious ankle injury in round one, while key defender Kyle Hartigan is recalled at the expense of utility David Mackay.
Young ruckman Reilly O'Brien has retained his spot in the side ahead of Sam Jacobs, who will be given another run in the SANFL to build his match fitness.