ESSENDON spearhead Joe Daniher could return from injury next week for the Bombers' clash with North Melbourne. 

The All Australian forward and Essendon best and fairest has been nursing a calf injury he suffered in the pre-season, but the club is expecting him to be recalled for its Good Friday clash with North Melbourne next week.  

"Joe's doing well, he's going to train with the group tomorrow (on Wednesday)," the Bombers' fitness boss Justin Crow told the club's website.

"He’ll do all of that session plus extra to make sure that he's ready for when he returns, not this weekend, but the weekend after."

FULL INJURY LIST Who's ruled out and who's a test?

Daniher has not played an AFL game for Essendon since round seven last year after missing most of 2018 with osteitis pubis.

He played for the Bombers in the pre-season JLT Community Series before suffering the calf strain.

His return to the forward half will be welcome for Essendon, which has lost Shaun McKernan to a long-term hamstring strain he suffered in last week's win over Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Cale Hooker appears set to play his first game of the season after being close to selection against the Demons. He has also overcome a calf strain and is line to face the Lions at the MCG on Saturday.

"Cale trained well last week and also he's performed well on the track this week," Crow.

"We have main training tomorrow and he'll be out there putting his hand up for selection."

However, James Stewart (groin) and Jayden Laverde (ankle) will be unavailable due to their minor setbacks.

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