FREMANTLE'S forward line will be at close to full strength for the club's final NAB Cup match on Saturday with captain Matthew Pavlich and sharpshooter Chris Mayne both returning against the Western Bulldogs.
Coach Ross Lyon confirmed Pavlich would play this weekend after wife Lauren gave birth to baby daughter Harper Rose on Wednesday afternoon, while Mayne returns from an ankle injury.
Lyon said Pavlich's workload would be monitored on Saturday, but the star goalkicker would have been available to play last week after recovering from back, hip and Achilles tendon surgery during the off-season.
"We've got his minutes planned, but he's really ready to go … we're thrilled to have him back," Lyon said on Thursday morning.
"He's in really good nick and he's done a lot of work."
Lyon said there was a squeeze for spots in the forward line, both in the key positions and among the small forwards, with Josh Mellington and Hayden Crozier pushing for selection.
Livewire forwards Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters are both on track for round one after their blistering end to the 2012 season, combining for 43 goals in the past 10 games.
Midfielders Stephen Hill and Michael Barlow will be recalled for Saturday's match after Carlton controlled the midfield in last Saturday's 70-point win over Fremantle.
Lyon said that NAB Cup result was "a good reminder" and an opportunity to improve, but ultimately the club was preparing for its round one clash with West Coast on March 23.
"Let's put it in context … different training loads, lots of threads coming together, teams at different points – there's certainly no panic here," he said.
"We get an opportunity to play a really strong team [this week], pick those that are giving really good effort and have had good summers, and build for round one.
"You don't muck around much when you've got one [pre-season game] to go."
Lyon said there were plenty of spots in the Fremantle line-up still up for grabs ahead of round one, with second-year midfielder Tom Sheridan and draftee Tanner Smith involved through the NAB Cup so far.
He said 21-year-old recruit Jack Hannath was also in the mix as the club prepares to open the season without injured ruckman Aaron Sandilands.
Draftee Josh Simpson is training with the main group but is trying to get some continuity in his preparation, Lyon said, after battling fatigue, illness and injury during his first pre-season.
The club is expecting the extreme heat policy to be activated on Saturday with temperatures forecast to reach 33 degrees in Mandurah.
Matthew Pavlich is a forward in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 95 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub .
Nathan Schmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nathan