Steele Sidebottom is back, but will he captain Collingwood?

The gun midfielder has served his four-match suspension for breaching COVID-19 protocols in June, with his return set to provide the Magpies with a welcome addition after losing skipper Scott Pendlebury for at least the next fortnight due to a quad injury.

However, having kept his place in the leadership group despite his significant breaches of social distancing protocols, having been transported home by police after he was found intoxicated, whether or not he captains the side against Fremantle is another question.

Sidebottom is one of three vice-captains behind Pendlebury, alongside Taylor Adams and the injured Jeremy Howe, with the Pies to discuss the situation later this week.

"We'll have a discussion about that this afternoon," Buckley said.

"What I will say about captaincy is that it will be shared. The responsibility of our leadership is often shared. Taylor Adams was responsible for going and tossing the coin as captain (against West Coast), which on-field is the only extra responsibility that the captain has.

"There is a figurehead or a spiritual connotation that has been linked with captaincy. But we have a fairly flat structure in our leadership and Steele will thicken the soup with that.

"We'll work out who will say heads or tails for us between now and Sunday."

Sidebottom is one of a number of welcome inclusions for Collingwood across both its senior and reserves teams this weekend, with defender Tom Langdon and midfielder Levi Greenwood to return via scratch matches having both dealt with long-term knee injuries.

Langdon has played just nine games since the 2018 Grand Final, while Greenwood hasn't featured since September last season, with both getting hit-outs in practice matches this weekend.

But Sidebottom is the key inclusion for Sunday's AFL clash with Fremantle at Optus Stadium, although Buckley has warned the midfielder won't prove the major difference in improving upon last week's disappointing 66-point loss to West Coast.

"We've slowly had guys that we've seen either in our top echelon of talent or in leadership positions depart the side for different circumstances over the last month," Buckley said.

"Getting Steele back will be important for us, both in an experience capacity and in a leadership capacity.

"He's served his penance. He's worked pretty hard on the track and we'll welcome him back on-field.

"He's not going to be the panacea or the curer of all evils, but he will play his role and be a contributor as he's always been on the field for us."

13:35 Mins
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