The forgotten man of football Scott Gumbleton is on the verge of a senior call-up for Essendon after star Bomber Michael Hurley went down with another hamstring injury on Saturday night during their embarrassing 71-point loss to St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.
It's the second hamstring injury Hurley has suffered this season after the gun 22-year-old sustained a similar injury in Round 4.
That setback saw Hurley miss three matches but while Essendon coach James Hird said his latest hamstring complaint - which he appeared to pick up early on Saturday night before being subbed out in the third quarter - was minor, he will almost certainly miss next week's clash with Port Adelaide.
And that could pave the way for Gumbleton if he performs well for Bendigo on Sunday in what will be his sixth match in a row for Essendon's VFL affiliate.
It's been nearly two full seasons since the injury-plagued Gumbleton has played for Essendon but with Hurley unlikely and Stewart Crameri (suspension) unavailable, Hird suggested the former No.2 draft pick is in line to fill the key forward void against the Power for just his 23rd match in six frustrating seasons.
Gumbleton's potential recall would be one of the feel-good stories of the year with the young tall enduring countless setbacks since being drafted in 2006, the most recent of which seeing him undergo a second bout of back surgery over the pre-season.
The 23-year-old gave the football world a glimpse of his potential with 19 goals from 17 games in 2010, but hasn't returned to senior football since.
Hird said versatile key position player Jake Carlisle would also help cover for the looming absence of Hurley and Crameri in attack.
But that key pair look set to have extra company on the sidelines next week with midfielder Heath Hocking sure to come under scrutiny from the match review panel for an off-the-ball hip-and-shoulder on an unaware Lenny Hayes during the third quarter, which sent the champion Saint from the ground bleeding.
It's not the first time Hocking has let his team down with an act of ill-discipline at a crucial part of a season, the tough Essendon on-baller copped a three-week ban for a crude elbow to Brisbane midfielder James Polkinghorne's head in Round 8 last year.
But Hird insisted he had no issue with Hocking's discipline.
"He (Hocking) is a very disciplined player and the way he goes about his game," Hird said.
"He's a fantastic contributor to our team and a real heart and soul of our team."
Hird was bitterly disappointed with his team's effort against St Kilda and highlighted the Bombers' lack of intensity and the final margin as the two major concerns of the huge defeat.
"We didn't play well, I think we got beaten in just about every area of the game by St Kilda and they turned up to play with a game plan and they stopped us doing what we wanted to do," Hird said.
"Their intensity around the ball was better than ours, they certainly spread harder than we did.
"Generally across the ground we didn't look like the team we've looked (like) for most of the year so we've got to go back and work out why that was the case.
"What did we lose by? 70-odd points? I'm really worried about that, that's not ideal."
Despite Saturday night's result, Hird was keen to point out how good his playing group had been overall since he took over last season in making the 2011 finals and also winning 10 matches and losing three by a total of just 11 points prior to Round 15 this year to be a genuine top-four chance.
"The players have done almost everything we've asked of them over the last 18 months," Hird said.
"I was very honest with our players after the game but I've got to say that they've been very good."You can look at one loss like that, and you don't forgive it because that sort of performance is not acceptable, but we've got to make sure we turn up next week to play rather than bury our team."