SCOTT Pendlebury will headline a series of big-name Magpies returning for Saturday's potentially season-defining match-up with Melbourne on Saturday.

Collingwood's captain has missed the past four games, starting with being a late withdrawal from the club's round eight defeat to West Coast with a quadriceps strain.

Coach Nathan Buckley confirmed Pendlebury would play, having done "everything in his power" to prove his fitness this week.

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Darcy Moore and Ben Reid (both managed), Jamie Elliott (ear) and Will Hoskin-Elliott (knee) are also available, with Buckley and co. to make a call on team selection after Friday's final training run.

Jordan Roughead (concussion) and Brayden Sier (quad) are the forced outs from Tuesday night's win over Adelaide, after Adam Treloar (hamstring), Hoskin-Elliott and Isaac Quaynor (shin) went down the previous week.

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Treloar has sustained some tendon damage and faces a race against the clock to be back in time for the finals.

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"We've got a really deep squad and we've shown that the last two or three weeks, to be honest," Buckley said.

"I think only the Swans have played more players than we have, and we've still got some boys there, Tom Langdon and Levi Greenwood, who are pushing for their opportunities late in the year. 

"A couple of our young fellas are yet to be able to make their mark, but we're really confident about our capacity to play a brand of footy that is going to challenge the best sides.

"We're defending really well and we know there's some upside in our offence and our ability inside to be cleaner and find a bit more time and space with ball in hand when we go forward."

The Demons are one of several sides on the fringes of the top eight trying to force their way in, with the Pies sitting in seventh spot and looking to establish more breathing room.

They have their own injury headaches, with gun ruckman Max Gawn battling a tear behind his shoulder and a posterior cruciate ligament issue.

Gawn will miss a second straight match, while prized draftee Luke Jackson's mid-week hamstring injury further complicated Melbourne's ruck situation ahead of a meeting with Collingwood star Brodie Grundy.

Former Kangaroo Braydon Preuss will step in for his first game of the season to lead the Demons' ruck division.