HIGH-FLYING forward Aaron Naughton is set to return for the Western Bulldogs' crucial round 11 clash against Brisbane on Saturday night.
However, gun midfielder Lachie Hunter (who took time out to deal with personal matters) is again not available for AFL selection – despite the possibility of featuring in a scratch match against the Lions.
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Naughton hasn't played a game since an ankle syndesmosis injury, suffered in round four, required surgery.
"We're likely to pick him, but I think it's important to lower expectations though. He's been out for a little while," Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge said.
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"For him to come in cold and play at his absolute best is going to be a huge challenge for him."
The Bulldogs are hoping in-form defender Hayden Crozier will be out for just 2-3 games as he deals with a ligament injury in his big toe.
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"It's not something that he hasn't been dealing with. He had an episode and now he's going through a bit more of an extreme period where he'll need some recuperation."
Also on the injury front, Josh Schache – who had been sidelined with concussion over the past few weeks - looks set to miss another three games as he deals with an overload issue with his groin.
The Lions will be a huge test for the Bulldogs, but Beveridge said his side would treat the game the same way it would treat cellar-dweller Adelaide the following week.
"We haven't established that we're a team that necessarily wins against anyone on either poles of the ladder," Beveridge said.
The Dogs, were widely tipped to be a contender prior to the season, but are outside the top eight and have suffered some horror losses, including a 52-point drubbing from Carlton and 41-point loss to Richmond.