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Bucks bangs the drum for more 'bang for buck'

Press Conference: Nathan Buckley Hear from Nathan Buckley ahead of Friday night's clash against the Western Bulldogs on Friday at the G.

Collingwood is determined to get more "bang for buck" from an improved connection among its midfield group and better conversion in attack, Magpies coach Nathan Buckley says.

The 1-2 Pies boast one of the most talented engine rooms of recent times but have lost the midfield battle in losses to Geelong in round one and West Coast on Saturday night, as they try to build chemistry in a group that has recently regained recruit Dayne Beams and Taylor Adams from injury.

In both games, the Woods also frittered away scoring opportunities their dangerous forward line would normally devour.

Buckley was wary of the challenge presented by the 2-1 Western Bulldogs, whom he expects to "ask some pretty solid questions" of his team at the MCG on Friday night, rating the Dogs' inside contested work as "as strong as any".

The Pies are yet to live up to the lavish descriptions of their midfield, and Buckley would like to rectify that.

"We'd like to be one of the best midfields going around but it's no use talking about it – you've got to go and do it. We've got the right ingredients, we've just got to get it done," Buckley said on Wednesday.

"We believe we've got a really strong group, but there's a lot of talent in the AFL and you've got to best that and work together to make the most of the talent you have at your disposal. We've been a bit hot and cold this year. We need to keep getting to work and keep improving."

The Pies' gun ruckman Brodie Grundy is again expected to gain the ascendancy against inexperienced Bulldogs big man Tim English, but hit-outs to advantage haven't resulted in as much productivity as the Woods' coach wants.

"Even as we've grown over the last 18 months there's still a bit of fat on our bones, so to speak. There's still some stuff that we can clean up, there's still some areas that we can improve, and our conversion of hit-outs to advantage to clearances was an area that we wrestled with last year and we never quite nailed it, and we've still got a bit of work to do on it," Buckley said.

"When you hear us talk about connection in our midfield group, it's not an uncommon thread for us or any other side at times. Right now it happens to be something that we believe we can get really big bang for buck from.

"We've done a bit of work on it this week. We worked on it out of the Geelong game as well, so it's not going to happen immediately but we believe we've got the right ingredients and we need to maximise them.

"It's about being able to connect and work together as a unit when we're under pressure on game day.

"We know we're not a finished product – we've got a lot of growth in us."

Pies key defender Darcy Moore played out the game against the Eagles after suffering a rolled ankle, but moved well at training and is a certain starter.

Fellow backman Jeremy Howe was a no-show as he recovers from a bout of 'flu, but Buckley said he would train on Thursday and be a certain starter against the Dogs.

"Probably similar to our conversion inside 50 – we look really good at times ,but we still leave some shots (at goal) out on the park.

Veteran midfielder Daniel Wells, who has been passed fit to return after overcoming a serious foot injury that sidelined him after round 12 last year, is scheduled to play three quarters in the VFL at the weekend.

The Dogs clash will mark the 200th AFL game of Magpie runner Chris Mayne, who made 172 appearances with Fremantle.

The 30-year-old's AFL career appeared over after a disastrous first season at the club in 2017, following which he has transformed himself from a forward to a defensive midfielder.

"The way he carries himself, the professionalism he displays, the care and support he provides his teammates on and off the field is as significant as any player that I've played alongside or coached," Buckley said.