Jordan De Goey stands on the brink of a return to the AFL after training strongly this week, as Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley considers a raft of options at the selection table.
Daniel Wells will inch closer to senior footy by returning in the VFL this weekend.
Jamie Elliott could be forced to wait until Anzac Day for his own return after leaving training early on Wednesday.
Durable midfielder Taylor Adams joined him in departing mid-session due to back tightness though Buckley believes he'll be fit for Friday night's away clash with Adelaide.
Buckley confirmed De Goey, who was sanctioned by his club for drink-driving in the off-season, had passed his fitness hurdle after playing in the VFL.
Coming off a hamstring injury, De Goey had 24 touches, five tackles and six clearances in a dominant reserves win.
"He's had a fair bit of training so we'll consider him this week when we look at the balance of the squad," Buckley said on Wednesday.
"The intensity of the VFL game last week was actually quite high (so) that was encouraging."
The news was less encouraging for Elliott, who kicked 5.3 in the same match.
"He was sore and didn't finish the session," Buckley said, without confirming his ailment.
"That goes into the mix and that will be part of the decision making."
Discussing Adams' availability, Buckley said: "He'd have to be (in doubt) if you haven't finished the main session but we think he'll be right".
After taking on the Crows, Collingwood have a 12-day break before their traditional clash with Essendon, then a brutal four-day recovery before a round six meeting with Richmond.
That all goes into the mix when considering the returns of Wells, Alex Fasolo, Levi Greenwood and Josh Smith.
Smith is at least "one to two" weeks away, Greenwood "still has a bit of work to put in" and the club will be conservative with Wells.
"He whets the appetite every time he trains," Buckley said, confirming he will play around two-thirds of the match against Port Melbourne.
"We clearly want to, and he wants to get some footy under him to reinforce the work that he's done on the track."
For Fasolo, the barrier to senior selection is opportunity.
"I had a chat to ‘Faz’ this morning and he's not far away. If you keep knocking on the door eventually it's ajar for you," Buckley said.