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Dons defender's return from quad injury could fix Hurley hole

Cogs hopeful of return, Pendles unsure, Nic Nat out The Footy Feed team with all the latest news

ESSENDON'S injury-hit backline could receive a boost with Patrick Ambrose in line to return against Adelaide this week.

The Bombers will lose dual All Australian Michael Hurley, potentially for the rest of the season, after he required surgery to his AC joint after a heavy collision in the club's win over North Melbourne on Saturday. 

 

But Ambrose is pushing to return against the Crows three weeks after he was a late withdrawal against Greater Western Sydney after suffering a quad injury in the warm-up. 

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The 27-year-old has become a key member of the Bombers' back half, and is valued for his hardness and versatility.

Ambrose will need to get through training this week, with a shorter turnaround for the Bombers ahead of their Friday night clash at Adelaide Oval a potential factor in his bid to return.

Cale Hooker will shoulder key defensive responsibilities in Hurley's absence, with Aaron Francis also able to play against a taller forward option.

Will Aaron Francis step up into a key defensive role? Picture: AFL Photos

Young backman Brandon Zerk-Thatcher could also be in the mix to make his senior debut after a strong season at VFL level, while Michael Hartley is another defensive option. 

Both were named emergencies last week against the Roos.

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Skipper Dyson Heppell will also need to prove his fitness this week after missing the past two games with a foot injury. 

The captain is dealing with a genetic issue in his foot that prevented him from training with the main group last week, however the midfielder is hopeful of returning against the seventh-placed Crows.

The clash is an important one for both clubs' finals hopes, with the Bombers winning five of their past six games to push into eighth position.