Eagle Jack Darling fractures cheekbone

Justin Chadwick
Jack Darling has a fractured cheekbone but is not expected to miss the start of the AFL season

West Coast forward Jack Darling will miss the club's opening pre-season clash because of a fractured cheekbone.

Darling suffered the small fracture during training and will sit out the February 27 match against Essendon in Perth.

The Eagles hope Darling will be fit for the March 7 pre-season encounter against Fremantle.

West Coast's general manager of football Craig Vozzo said Darling was still well on track for the club's season opener against Melbourne on March 22.

"It was friendly fire in training and unfortunately he has a small fracture of the cheekbone," Vozzo told the club's website.

"He will build back into training, just avoiding contact for the next few weeks, but we're still confident in terms of round one."

Jeremy McGovern (heel) and Tom Barrass (foot) are set to increase their training loads over the coming weeks.

Big men Oscar Allen (hernia), Nathan Vardy (ankle) and Tom Hickey (calf) are also making steady progress.