ESSENDON trio Sam Draper, Devon Smith and Peter Wright are all in the mix to return from injury for the Bombers' clash with Hawthorn this week.
The Bombers can get to within one win of the top eight by beating the 17th-placed Hawks and could be bolstered by the set of injured players who are all considered a chance to be recalled.
Draper was a shot at being available for the Bombers' clash with West Coast in round 11 after overcoming his syndesmosis ankle injury (watch the incident in the player below) he suffered in round two.
However, the Bombers took the cautious route with their impressive young ruckman and played him in scratch matches in recent weeks between other listed AFL players not playing at the top level to build his conditioning before he was recalled to steer the club's ruck department.
Smith was substituted out of the Bombers' round nine win over Fremantle, with the club having eyed a return for the midfielder/half-forward after its round 13 bye.
Wright was a late withdrawal ahead of the Bombers' win over West Coast with a calf complaint that also ruled him out of its Dreamtime in the West defeat to Richmond the following week.
But after three weeks since the initial strain the forward/ruckman will be pressing to prove his fitness this week to take on the Hawks.
The looming availability of Draper and Wright could see a squeeze for talls in the Bombers' line-up, with Andrew Phillips playing the past five games for the senior side and having a steady impact. He kicked a goal from 10 disposals and had 25 hit-outs in the loss to the Tigers.
Cale Hooker and Harrison Jones have played every game this season in attack for the Bombers, while Patrick Ambrose, who is being used as a forward, was the medical substitute against Richmond.
Midfielder Dylan Shiel is also closing in on a return to the field after making quicker than expected progress from his knee surgery.
The former Giant underwent surgery in April that was feared could rule him out for the rest of the season however the Bombers are hopeful of him being available sooner than first thought.