De Goey, Mihocek to return as Magpies rally troops

Collingwood are set to take their AFL premiership defence up a gear when Craig McRae welcomes back flag stars Jordan De Goey and Brody Mihocek from injuries after the bye.

The Magpies have surged into the top four for the first time this season following Sunday's one-point win over North Melbourne, despite being forced to deal with a long injury list throughout the campaign.

De Goey (groin) and Mihocek (hamstring) were among a group of seven players from the premiership team sidelined from the Kangaroos clash through injury.

But McRae indicated the important pair would return when Collingwood take on Gold Coast at People First Stadium on June 29.

Oleg Markov (back) should also return against the Suns and Scott Pendlebury (biceps) is a chance, while Jamie Elliott (vascular), Mason Cox (concussion/knee) and Tom Mitchell (foot) are further away.

"There's quite a few at the gate ready to jump out of the blocks post-bye," McRae said.

"I don't know exactly all of them, but I think Mihocek would've played (against North Melbourne).

"Jordy's really taken huge steps forward, so I think he'll be a good chance to play (against Gold Coast).

"Pendles (Pendlebury) I'm not sure. Maybe, maybe not."

Oleg Markov.
Oleg Markov is also set to return to face the Gold Coast. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

The Magpies have lost just once - and had two draws - since their horror 0-3 start and will seek to carry momentum into the second half of the season.

They pulled off a remarkable comeback against North Melbourne, rallying from 54 points down early in the third quarter to pinch a classic.

"There's a lot of belief in the group," McRae said.

"Our best is really hard to play against, but there's no guarantees in there.

"Better magnets, if you want to call it that, doesn't guarantee you anything.

"We've still got to go and get the job done."

McRae has been thrilled with players who have stepped up during the tough run with injuries, including Jack Crisp through the midfield and key tall Nathan Kreuger.

Riddled with injuries throughout his career, Kreuger played his first game of the year in round 13 and has kicked four goals in two appearances.

First-year defender Tew Jiath showed glimpses of his potential against North Melbourne.

"We've proven in the last period that we haven't needed Pendles and Jordy to a certain degree," McRae said.

"The others have been able to do a great job for us.

"We value contributions and our group's looking like it's got more depth, but it will still be a challenge for the rest of the year."