Fantasia on cusp of AFL return

Shayne Hope
Orazio Fantasia is eyeing off a return for the Bombers against Carlton

Essendon speedster Orazio Fantasia is set to be put through a rigorous fitness test on Thursday as he attempts to prove he's ready to play his first match since the AFL season restart.

Fantasia, who has dealt with a succession of injuries in recent seasons, kicked one goal from six disposals in the round-one win over Fremantle but strained a quad at training late last month.

He missed the Bombers' win over Sydney in round two and would not have played in last week's match against Melbourne, which was postponed indefinitely after Conor McKenna's positive COVID-19 test.

Essendon coach John Worsfold confirmed Fantasia is in the mix to return in Saturday night's meeting with Carlton at the MCG.

"He was close last week but then we didn't fully test him because we'd made the decision he wasn't quite right," Worsfold said.

"He has to still now fulfil those protocols, which will be (Thursday) most likely. His main training session will tell us whether he's ready or not."

Fantasia played just 28 games over the last two seasons and shapes as a key figure in Essendon's attempt to reach the finals this season.

The Bombers are aiming to improve to a 3-0 record for the first time since 2013 but were thrown a curve-ball last week with the saga surrounding McKenna's positive test.

McKenna and fringe forward James Stewart, who was deemed a "close contact" of the Irishman, are in quarantine and captain Dyson Heppell is also out of action after fracturing an ankle at training.

There were fears the Bombers could lose their entire backline to quarantine and also the possibility the Carlton match would be postponed.

But Worsfold said the timing of the Department of Health and Human Services quarantine decision early this week, which paved the way for the Bombers-Blues clash to go ahead, meant Essendon were now well placed to prepare for the fixture.

"There was a lot of work done (on Tuesday) once we knew what the week was going to look like and it hasn't come too late," Worsfold said.

"Really, it will be as normal going forward. Once we knew we were pushing ahead with the game, all focus has been on preparing to play."