COLLINGWOOD could lose big man Mason Cox to another suspension and could also be without hamstrung veteran Travis Varcoe, but will regain key playmaker Daniel Wells for the clash with Fremantle at the MCG next week.

The Magpies’ crucial come-from-behind 35-point win over the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Friday night, which lifted them into the top eight, might well come at a considerable cost given Cox’s report for rough conduct and Varcoe’s history of hamstring worries.

Cox was booked for rough conduct in the last quarter when he bumped Bulldogs little man Jason Johannisen, who had his head over the ball.

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“He’s a clumsy fella at the best of times,” Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said of the American forward/ruckman.

“It was a clumsy contest, but we’ll wait and see how that pans out.

“The size differential is always tough for him. He’s going to collect guys high more often than not in that circumstance.”

Varcoe seems unlikely to face the Dockers after sustaining a likely hamstring strain.

“He said he didn't feel that much (pain) but it just tightened up. So we’ll see how he tracks,” Buckley said.

In more positive news, veteran Wells will return to strengthen the Magpies’ running brigade after being rested against the Dogs.

“He’s getting some good training in, and not running around out here for this game off a six-day break, it ends up being a win-win for us – he’s available for selection and we get the four points,” Buckley enthused.

Buckley and the Pies were relieved to overcome the Bulldogs after a poor first quarter.

THE PIES ARE BACK IN TOWN Five talking points

In the opening 10 minutes, Collingwood led the inside 50 count 8-2 but had just one scoring shot to show for it – a Tom Phillips goal after a Bulldogs kicking clanger.

“Our contested-ball method and our ability to crumb some of those contests was just not good enough. We just asked for a better effort,” Buckley said.

The Pies coach was pleased with his team’s performance after quarter-time and particularly the last half when it outscored the Bulldogs 8.9 to just 0.4.

The Magpie revival was built on increased pressure around the ball.

“The plans we went in with, we executed better in the second quarter,” Buckley said.

“One thing we didn't bring (early) was the pressure on the ball (carrier) that we normally enjoy and take for granted in many ways, but our pressure was really low and the Bulldogs mids and high backs were able to find some hit-ups off our defenders.

“Our back six have been defending really well (and) our defensive mechanisms behind the ball have been pretty strong but when you don't have pressure on the pill it's going to expose even the best defensive unit.

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“We got that right and it was clearly the thing that changed the game in the second quarter and we got more right after that.”

A surprise omission for the Bulldogs clash was dashing young defender Sam Murray, who Buckley said had been sent back to the VFL because of “form, a little bit of (kicking efficiency), a little bit of contest”.

“He’s a good young player. He’s just played the first nine games of his AFL career and he’s done pretty well,” he said.

“He had a little bit of a lull so he goes back and see if he can get his form up in the VFL and give himself a chance to come back in and contribute later in the year.”