ESSENDON will hand out a sixth debut of the season against Carlton as the Bombers aim to keep reaping the rewards of turning to youth.

Ruckman Nick Bryan will debut after averaging 20 disposals and 32 hitouts across the opening two VFL games - joining Nik Cox, Harrison Jones, Archie Perkins, Zach Reid and mature-aged recruit Alec Waterman as 2021 debutants.

The burst of youth has been a refreshing change for Essendon, which sits 2-4 but has shown exciting glimpses and defeated Collingwood on Anzac Day.

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"We've been pleased with some growth throughout the start of the season, which is great, but we're also a fair way off where I see this team getting to - so that's exciting as well," coach Ben Rutten said.

"... It's (the introduction of young players is) awesome - we're giving them an opportunity but they're earning it as well.

"They're playing some really good footy - they're putting in, they're working on their craft and building their game and they're earning these opportunities

"We've had five debutants so far this season and none of them have let us down by any stretch."

Bryan, 19, replaces Andrew Phillips, who is unavailable after pushing through a knock on Anzac Day, and he is likely to get support from experienced tall Peter Wright.

Meanwhile, Rutten played down the hype around eye-catching No.8 draft pick Cox.

"My kids are wanting the No.13 on their back now too," Rutten said.

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"He's starting to build a bit of a reputation now which is great, but he's also six games into his career so we don't want to put too much expectation on him yet as a footy club.

"But you can all see what he's capable of doing and we're all really excited about watching him grow."

Gun defender Jordan Ridley will return from concussion but Aaron Francis, who injured his ankle against Collingwood, is touch-and-go.