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Ablett in, but not Chapman and Wojcinski

By Sam Lienert 03/08/2008 12:56:39 PM Comments (0)

Geelong star Gary Ablett is almost certain to return for Friday night's MCG meeting with bottom-placed Melbourne, but Paul Chapman and David Wojcinski are likely to wait at least another week.

Coach Mark Thompson said the club would continue to take a cautious approach with their players in the lead-up to the finals.

But he said Ablett had trained strongly on Saturday morning, ahead of the club's comfortable win over Richmond, to demonstrate he had overcome an ankle injury which sidelined him for three games.

"He did train on Wednesday night, he was fine doing a lot of things, but he was a little bit sore changing direction, so he decided and we decided together that he wouldn't play (against the Tigers)," Thompson said.

"(Saturday) morning he did everything at training so we'd expect that he'd play (against Melbourne)."

But Thompson said running defender Wojcinski was struggling to overcome an Achilles injury, which has kept him out for the past three rounds.

"He's not improving, or he didn't improve up until last Wednesday, so he'd be a chance, but again he'd be more of a chance not to play," he said.

Both Wojcinski and Chapman (hamstring) were likely to play against Sydney in round 20, Thompson said.

While the Cats have been in imperious form in Ablett's absence, downing the Western Bulldogs, Hawthorn and Richmond, Thompson said it would not be difficult to drop a player to make way for his return.

"Gary will probably find a way back into the team and so will Wojcinski, it just gets done," he said.

"I think people can accept being dropped to the VFL if they know that Gary Ablett is coming back in, I think they just accept that, it's just the character we have around the place."

While the Cats seemingly have the minor premiership sewn up with four rounds to go, Thompson said he had no intention of resting players or altering the club's training routine in the lead-up to the finals.

"It's a bit about staying on track and just keeping up our brand of footy that we've been playing and just refining it," he said.

"We've been really cautious all year with injuries and we'll continue to do that, just the whole management and planning, just to maintain this level of football that we have been playing."

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