Jake Carlisle remains upbeat he will return for Essendon’s elimination final, but the AFL club will take no risk with the swingman.
The Bombers face North Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday night, with Carlisle desperate to come back after missing the side’s draw against Carlton in the final round of the season.
The 22-year-old tweaked his hamstring last Tuesday while training, with scans confirming a minor strain.
Senior assistant coach Simon Goodwin said Carlisle would have to train well on Wednesday to be any chance of playing the Kangaroos.
“He’s confident he’ll get up,” Goodwin told the Seven Network’s AFL Game Day on Sunday.
“But we won’t take him in unless he’s trained fully by Wednesday.
“He did some running over the weekend.”
Carlisle would be somewhat short of match fitness, having only returned to the side in round 22 after missing one game due to back spasms.
Coach Mark Thompson has been among those to question how a player could miss only one match with a hamstring injury.
“But they (medical staff) say it is possible,” Thompson said after Saturday’s draw.
Carlisle struggled early in the season while playing as a forward, but showed what he’s capable of in rounds 17 and 18.
He took 19 marks and kicked four goals in a 64-point win over Collingwood, then booted eight goals in a magnificent display against the Western Bulldogs.
David Myers and Mark Baguley are both expected to take on North.
Myers missed Saturday’s game due to illness, while Baguley suffered a nasty head knock against the Blues.
Meanwhile, Goodwin said there was no doubt Thompson and James Hird could work side by side in 2015.
Thompson has been the club’s caretaker this season in the absence of Hird, but is yet to declare his intentions for next year.
“They did it before for three years, I don’t know why they wouldn’t be able to do that now,” Goodwin said.
Captain Jobe Watson, sitting alongside Goodwin, said the Bombers were obligated to find a suitable role for Thompson and retain the two-time premiership coach.
“He adds so much to the club and the playing group, it would be remiss of the club to let him go,” Watson said.