PORT Adelaide stars Chad Wingard, Hamish Hartlett and Jackson Trengove are expected to play against Fremantle in round one.

The trio, recovering from respective knee, groin and shoulder injuries, will miss Saturday's NAB Challenge game against Adelaide – although Power coach Ken Hinkley said Hartlett could almost have played.

Trengove is building towards competitive work at training, while Wingard tested out his strapped right knee with agility runs on Friday morning.

The Power fly to Perth to face the Dockers on April 5 and Hinkley was confident all three would be on the plane.

"We're really comfortable that Chad's OK ... as I sit here today I expect to pick the three of them in round one," Hinkley said.

"Chad's [test] is about when he can start twisting and turning and doing what he can and you've seen out there today he's doing that, so that's not a problem. 

"Jackson's is about the competitive side to the game and he's not going to test that until very late because we don't need to.

"[Hamish] could have nearly played tomorrow and we made the decision not to play him tomorrow so we're being conservative with Hamish and making sure he's right for round one."

Saturday's game against the Crows will be Hinkley's return to the coaching box, after defence coach Matthew Nicks handled the opening two NAB Challenge games.

The experience will prove invaluable for Nicks, who on Thursday was accepted into the AFL's level four coaching accreditation program. 

As excited as he is to return to game-day coaching, Hinkley wished it was against different opposition. 

He doesn't like the idea of pre-season Showdowns, believing it dilutes the significance of the showpiece of the South Australian football calendar.

The main argument for the Crows and Power facing off prior to round one is the lack of travel involved, but Hinkley said he'd happily fly to preserve the integrity of the rivalry game.

"I'm not a fan of it, if I'm honest. I think it's a great game, it's a marquee game in the state and we should protect it as much as we possibly can and put it out when it's significant.

"It's a national competition, we travel every second week – [it's] no big deal.

"I said the same thing to Gillon McLachlan, I said I don't mind if we travel a week out (from round one) ... the Showdown should be protected."