Star recruit Daniel Wells is poised to make his debut for Collingwood in Tuesday's ANZAC Day meeting with Essendon as the Pies look for an injection of class.
A lingering calf injury has delayed the former North Melbourne midfielder's first appearance in Collingwood colours, but after getting through last week's VFL clash, Wells is expected to be fit to face the Bombers.
Coach Nathan Buckley said the silky 32-year-old should be available for selection for the first time as Collingwood enters the clash 1-3 after its disappointing defeat to St Kilda last week.
"'Wellsy' pulled (up) out of the VFL game fit and firing. He's got to get through a couple of training sessions but we anticipate he'll be fit to play and we look forward to getting him to wear the black and white stripes on Tuesday," Buckley said after Wells completed a full session on Thursday.
But Buckley said too much importance shouldn't be placed on Wells to lift the side's ball use, which has proven a problem in the opening month of the year.
"He's a class player and he's got a lot of experience, and he's a very good user of the footy. He's great around stoppages and great with that forward half use," Buckley said.
"It just happens to be the area we're falling down in particular at the moment. Daniel isn't going to solve all of those ills and we're doing a lot of work on it, but he won't hurt us either.
"We're looking forward to him coming in and doing what he does, but at the same time we don't expect him to be the saviour in that regard."
Buckley also indicated key forward/ ruckman Mason Cox is a strong chance to return to the Pies' line-up for the ANZAC Day meeting, a year from his promising debut in the corresponding game.
But he shut down suggestions the Pies could cut short Jordan De Goey's club-imposed suspension and rush him back into the side, and also ruled out father-son prospect Josh Daicos making his debut against Essendon.
"(Daicos) is not ready. He's played one VFL game. He's been very impressive through the pre-season and I know the question is there because of the romance and he's shown some really good signs," Buckley said.
"We're best placed to make the decision when he's ready, physically and mentally and emotionally to take on the game. We're not at that point yet."
Buckley pointed to Collingwood's close losses – all three defeats have been under 20 points – as proof of the Pies' strong defensive structures, and highlighted his side as a leading team for contested disposals so far this season.
But he acknowledged its difficulties in kicking a winning score, with the Pies also suffering from terrible inaccuracy around goal, booting 41.55 for the season to be the competition's most wayward side.
"We wouldn't have anticipated that we would have this much trouble at the beginning of the year with our offence but clearly that's a work in progress," he said.
Collingwood has a strong record over Essendon in recent ANZAC Day meetings, winning the past three contests and six of the past seven annual showpiece games.