ESSENDON will make a call on Orazio Fantasia's fitness later this week as the important Bomber makes a bid to face Melbourne on Sunday.
It will have been three weeks since Fantasia suffered a quad strain at training by the time the Bombers face the Demons at the MCG, and the livewire forward has been steadily building his training since.
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Coach John Worsfold said Friday's session at Tullamarine would be critical in the 24-year-old's hopes as he recovers from another soft-tissue complaint.
"He's going to be very close. Obviously Friday is main training and that's when he'll have to get through and prove to us that he's available for selection but it all appears to be tracking pretty well," Worsfold said.
"But really I couldn't say that he will be available until we see him on Friday."
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Worsfold said the Bombers were managing Fantasia's injury taking into account his run of fitness issues over the past two years.
The Bombers are aiming to start their season 3-0 for the first time since 2013, having not opened their account with three straight wins in Worsfold's five-year stint at the club.
Fantasia could come in, while speedster Conor McKenna is also available this week after the Bombers decided he was "too much at risk" to play last Sunday against the Swans given his interrupted preparation returning from Ireland.
Worsfold defended veteran midfielder David Zaharakis, who struggled for impact in the Bombers' win over Sydney with only six disposals.
The departing coach wouldn't reveal what the new role consistent of for the 30-year-old, other than saying it was an adjustment.
"It is a new role for David in particular and there's going to be opportunities for him to learn about it and get better at it," Worsfold said.
"At the moment we're pretty happy with the way he's going about it knowing that he's got the ability to play the role we want really well."