CARLTON is facing a new issue in its recent history, with the Blues suddenly expecting a selection squeeze with a host of important players set to be welcomed back into an unbeaten team this weekend.

Adam Cerra and Jack Martin will return from the AFL's health and safety protocols ahead of Sunday's clash with Hawthorn, while first-round pick Liam Stocker is also expected to be available following a syndesmosis injury he sustained before Christmas.

Carlton will also welcome back coach Michael Voss, assistant Tim Clarke and football boss Brad Lloyd from bouts of COVID-19, which forced mass change in the coaches' box for Thursday night's impressive win over the Western Bulldogs.

Tom De Koning and Michael Voss celebrate Carlton's R1 win over Richmond at the MCG on March 17, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The Blues improved to 2-0 for the first time in a decade following the thrilling 12-point win, with the return of reigning best and fairest Sam Walsh from his own syndesmosis injury helping to cover for the loss of Cerra and Martin.

Cerra and Walsh are now set to team up together for the first time in Carlton colours, further bolstering a new-look Blues midfield that has been led by Patrick Cripps, George Hewett and Matt Kennedy in the season's first fortnight.

Martin is also expected to return, while Stocker will be available but might have to bide his time through the VFL having not yet played at any level since hurting his syndesmosis at training in mid-December.

Liam Stocker flies during a Carlton training session at Ikon Park in December, 2021. Picture: carltonfc.com.au

Carlton is still determining the extent of back spasms suffered by Oscar McDonald on Thursday night, which forced the defender to be substituted out of the contested at half time.

Should he be forced to miss Sunday's clash with Hawthorn, it could lead to new recruit Lewis Young making his first appearance in his new colours following a trade from the Western Bulldogs last October.

Young impressed in Friday night's 42-point VFL victory over Brisbane, winning 21 disposals and taking 10 marks. Lachie Plowman was the AFL team's medical substitute and will also come under consideration.

Paddy Dow pressed his case for a senior recall with 32 disposals and a goal in the VFL over the weekend, while wingmen Jack Newnes (30 disposals, one goal) and Matt Cottrell (25 disposals, one goal) were also among the best.

02:27 Mins
Published on

VFL Showreel, R1: Paddy Dow highlights

Enjoy Paddy Dow's standout VFL performance for Carlton

Published on