COLLINGWOOD expects key tall Ben Reid to return via the VFL on Sunday after missing four weeks with a quad injury.

The 25-year-old All Australian defender has been earmarked to play a role supporting Travis Cloke up forward but is yet to play a senior game after suffering a calf injury and then nicking his quad at training after resuming in the VFL. 

The Magpies have had some major injury worries in recent weeks but the list is starting to shrink.

Nick Maxwell is likely to be fit after missing four weeks with a calf injury. 

Collingwood football manager Rodney Eade told the club was hopeful the 31-year-old would be right to play but admitted the club would need to decide whether Maxwell played seniors immediately or had a run in the VFL.

The Magpies are also looking forward to Nathan Freeman, the No.10 pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, playing at least half a game in the VFL after being bedevilled with hamstring problems in his first season. 

Marley Williams, a late withdrawal from Sunday night's game against Carlton with ankle problems, will undergo a fitness test before the Gold Coast game on Saturday. 

However Eade said small forward Jamie Elliott – who was subbed off the ground on Sunday night against Carlton after suffering hamstring tightness – was touch and go for round 16. 

The 21-year-old is due to play his 50th game and has had an outstanding season, kicking 30 goals. He leads Travis Cloke by one goal on the Magpies' goalkicking table.