ESSENDON is likely to regain midfield pair Jobe Watson and David Zaharakis for its trip to Perth this week to face West Coast, but the Bombers won't rush back veteran defender Dustin Fletcher.
Watson missed last week's dismal defeat to Geelong with an adductor injury, but is likely to be back to skipper the club as it tries to haul itself out of a form slump that has seen it fall to 4-6 after 10 rounds.
Club doctor Bruce Reid said the Brownlow medallist trained on Tuesday with the main group and was over the injury, which he said was at the 'lower end'.
"We won't take him quite to top-end speed until Thursday, but we expect Jobe to play," Reid told the Bombers' website.
Zaharakis hasn't played for the Bombers since their last trip to Perth, when they were well beaten by Fremantle in round six.
The ankle injury he sustained in the clash has seen him miss a month, but the Bombers expect to have him available to offer some much-needed run and speed against the Eagles at Domain Stadium on Saturday.
"We expect David to play. He's [completed] full training (on Tuesday), so as long as he doesn't pull up sore we expect him to be fit for selection," Reid said.
Fletcher, who suffered a similar injury to Watson in his 400th game against Richmond in round nine, will not take on the Eagles, with Reid saying the club was making sure he would be ready to play in round 13 after the Bombers' bye next week.
Jason Winderlich returned from a long absence to feature in Essendon's VFL side on the weekend and pulled up without any complaints, while Reid said Nick Kommer will play this week for the Bombers at VFL level.
Kommer hasn't played a game of football since round 22, 2013, after missing all of last year dealing with a debilitating bout of knee tendinitis, but has built up his workload and is ready to take the field again.
Midfield duo Heath Hocking and David Myers are likely to return to action after the Bombers' bye.