PORT Adelaide's attacking aces Charlie Dixon and Orazio Fantasia will soon make comebacks as an injury crisis eases at the club.
Both Dixon and Fantasia haven't played this season after pre-season surgery, but coach Ken Hinkley says they're just weeks from returning.
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"I am optimistic and that hasn't always been the case," Hinkley told reporters on Thursday.
"Dixon and Fantasia are moving along quickly ... some really promising stuff.
"Whether that is two, three weeks further, I don't know exactly, but I think it's getting closer.
"It's a genuine race right now I reckon, I have got some optimism about them both coming back."
Dixon (ankle) and Fantasia (knee) both had surgery in early February with Hinkley eager for the pair's return.
"There's some challenges with that because they have been interrupted and disrupted in their pre-season preparation," he said.
"But it certainly helps and it builds (selection) pressure from the players in the team and from players out of the team.
"Ideally, they're both significant players in our best team."
Hinkley expects veteran Robbie Gray and All-Australian defender Aliir Aliir to play against St Kilda in Cairns on Saturday night.
Gray was substituted out of Port's 84-point belting of West Coast with a knee complaint while Aliir was limping after landing awkwardly on the ankle he had surgery on early in the season.
The round-six win over the Eagles was Port's first of the season.
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"We have had six quarters where we have been much more pleased with the way we have gone about it," Hinkley said.
"That gives us some confidence to say that we're heading in the right direction.
"We understand the challenge that we come up against this week.
"The competition is proving again and again, isn't it, that whatever happens you have just got to be at your best otherwise the corner that you feel like you might have turned doesn't count."
Port's 26-strong squad fly to Sydney on Thursday evening where they will spent the night before a connecting flight to Cairns on Friday.
"It's an unusual flight plan but it's a plan we can cope with," Hinkley said.