THE WESTERN Bulldogs will be without Bailey Dale for up to six weeks after the midfielder suffered a stress reaction in his foot.
Dale reported a sore foot in the wake of last Friday night's loss to Collingwood, and scans revealed a stress issue in one of the bones of his foot.
The club expects him to return to play in the next 4-6 weeks.
While Dale hasn't matched the form that saw him record a breakout season in 2017, the Edithvale-Aspendale product is still a huge part of the club's future with his run and smart foot skills.
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Dale has become the second Bulldog to be struck down by foot soreness in the past fortnight, with promising ruckman Tim English pulling up tender following a VFL match.
English was initially expected to miss up to three weeks, but the injury could now see him sidelined for another five weeks.
In better news for the Dogs, veteran stopper Dale Morris is expected to play his first game of the season against Melbourne on Saturday after recovering from a pre-season knee injury.
Impressive draftee Aaron Naughton has returned to full training after missing two weeks with an ankle strain and is also a likely inclusion.
Fellow defender Zaine Cordy will need to pass a fitness on a concussion he sustained in the loss to the Magpies.