Adam Cooney
Adam Cooney

Western Bulldogs star Adam Cooney is expected to face Essendon on Saturday night despite missing training on Thursday.

Cooney has battled a chronic right knee injury since suffering a knock to the joint almost four years ago and struggled with just 11 possessions in the Bulldogs' loss to Brisbane last week.

The 2008 Brownlow medallist was absent when the team went through their paces at Whitten Oval, but Bulldogs midfielder Liam Picken said that was nothing out of the ordinary.

"He has got a different sort of training phase, so he's in the gym working out," Picken told the official AFL website.

"He does a combination of things. There are guys who weren't out (training) today but they'll be out tomorrow."

The Bulldogs, who sit 14th with a 5-7 record, will go into the match rank outsiders against an Essendon side challenging for top spot on the ladder.

But Picken said his side were not going to lie down against the Bombers, who are returning from a four-goal win over Fremantle in Perth.

"We've won a few games this year and we've been competitive in most of them so there's no reason why (we can't win) this weekend. We've got a chance to win and everyone (here) is expecting us to have a chance to win," he said.

"(It was) just disappointing effort on the weekend against Sydney.

"We're still trying to learn and get better. It wasn't acceptable on the weekend, so we're just looking forward to this weekend (and) getting out there and having a real crack."

Injury plagued defender Tom Williams is back in the selection frame with a likely return through the VFL with affiliate Williamstown, while ruckman Will Minson is in line to return after serving a one-match, club-imposed suspension for sledging Port Adelaide's Danyle Pearce.

Williams has been on the long-term injury list after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction but has been placed back on the primary list again with his replacement Mark Austin retained courtesy of the mid-season rookie rule.

Picken said Minson had endured a tough week on the sidelines but the club has supported him through the controversy.

"Obviously everyone's got around him, and Will had the week off and he's looking forward to playing this week," Picken said.


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