RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick says Dustin Martin is "in a better space" as the club holds hope the superstar will return from personal leave.
Martin has been away from the club since late last month and spent time in Sydney with the Tigers' blessing.
The triple Norm Smith medallist has since returned to Melbourne, fuelling hope a playing return might not be too far away.
But Richmond is still yet to put a specific timeline on the 30-year-old's return to action.
"We're reluctant to provide a running commentary but what we do know is he's in a better space," Hardwick said.
"When we know more we certainly will give you guys more information but at this stage it's the same as it has been."
Martin is mourning the loss of his father, Shane, who died in New Zealand in December.
A fortnight ago, Richmond senior adviser Neil Balme insisted Martin had not played his last game for the club, declaring the midfielder's return was "just a matter of when".
Richmond have been inconsistent in the absence of Martin and several injured stars, slipping to a 2-3 record ahead of the Anzac Day Eve blockbuster against Melbourne.
Kamdyn McIntosh will return after missing last week's loss to Adelaide through COVID-19 protocols and Kane Lambert is set to play his first senior match of the season.
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Lambert has overcome a hip injury and has built his fitness on limited game time in the VFL over the past fortnight.
Hardwick is "very bullish" Lambert will be given the all-clear to take on the unbeaten Demons but concedes the midfielder won't be at peak fitness.
"He's a pretty fit guy overall, footy-wise he hasn't played a lot, but we're pretty confident that what he can bring is going to be pretty good," Hardwick said.
"He's just such an important guy to our club.
"He's a coach on and off the field and just a wonderful ambassador for us with the way he plays the game."
Richmond will consider recalling ruckman Ivan Soldo to help Toby Nankervis against Melbourne duo Max Gawn and Luke Jackson.
But Soldo needs to be cleared to play after spending time in hospital this week with an infected toe.