ESSENDON veteran Michael Hurley is set to make his comeback to football this weekend after his long injury layoff.

Barring any setbacks at training this week, the 32-year-old is expected to line up for the Bombers' VFL side this weekend against Gold Coast at Windy Hill on Sunday.

The Bombers have been cautious to put a timeline on Hurley's return to the field since his hip infection in February last year ruled him out for the 2021 season.

MEDICAL ROOM Check out the full injury list

He has battled calf niggles at different stages this season in his bid for a return, but recently got back into full-scale training and coach Ben Rutten a fortnight ago tentatively hoped Hurley would be available for this weekend.

Essendon fitness boss Sean Murphy on Wednesday said Hurley was nearing a return.  

"'Hurls' has had a really good month of training," he said.

Michael Hurley will play his first game of footy since Round 18, 2020, after a hip infection threatened his career. Picture: AFL Photos

"His training loads have been at a high level and all things are looking really promising for him."

Hurley has played 193 games at the top level for the Bombers, with his last appearance in round 18, 2020.