FREMANTLE captain Nat Fyfe has ramped up preparations for his AFL return as the superstar midfielder targets a blockbuster clash with Melbourne in round 11 to play his first game this season.
Fyfe took part in full training and 18-on-18 drills at the Dockers' Cockburn base on Thursday as the club continues planning to reintegrate its dual Brownlow medallist before the second half of the season.
Coach Justin Longmuir conceded the 30-year-old would likely have to play through pain when he returns to the team, but he backed his skipper to get back to his best after shoulder and back operations.
"Structurally his shoulder has been good to go for a while (but) he's had to deal with a few other niggles that are well spoken about over the last couple of months," Longmuir said on Thursday.
"He's a really resilient character, he's a pro, and he works really hard to get his body right and up to its highest standard he can get it.
"He's been able to put a lot of injury niggles behind him in the past, and surgeries, and come back and play his best footy, and we're really confident he can do that this time."
A two-week block of full training will put Fyfe in the mix for the clash against the Demons at the MCG next weekend, with the Dockers boasting a flexible weapon that can either supercharge their midfield or add to the forward line.
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"We'll keep working through that [how he returns]," Longmuir said.
"He's doing everything he can to be a part of it. He wants to get back and lead, and the best way he does that is by example on the field.
"He's really keen to get back and play whatever role he can."
While Fyfe targets the Demons, the Dockers have several players ready to boost the team immediately against Collingwood at Optus Stadium on Sunday.
Key forward Matt Taberner (hamstring) trained with the main group on Thursday to push his case, while important small forward Sam Switkowski is set to return from concussion.
Michael Walters will complete a training session to prove his fitness when he comes out of health and safety protocols on Thursday afternoon and is considered a strong chance to face the Magpies.
Key defender Alex Pearce is less certain, however, as he manages a troublesome ankle that flared against Gold Coast in round nine.
"He's given that ankle another decent tweak," Longmuir said.
"Expect him to put his hand up to play, but we'll see how he looks today and he'll have to tick a fair few boxes before we get there.
"If we thought [a rest] was going to be of benefit to have a week off we would consider it, but it's not what the doctors are saying. One week off might not help.
"It's just soreness and something he is going to have to manage. It's not related to previous injuries. He's just going to have to manage it through the year."