AAP AFL

Key Bombers cleared for Eagles AFL clash

By AAP Newswire

Essendon have received a boost ahead of their AFL clash against West Coast, with Dyson Heppell and Devon Smith cleared to play.

Heppell was concussed in a fierce bump by Luke Hodge in the round-12 win over Brisbane, with Smith suffering a calf injury in the same game.

But the Bombers have confirmed the pair will be fit to take their place in the line-up to face the Eagles at Optus Stadium on Thursday night.

"Our doctors put in place the protocols they use to monitor recovery and make sure he returns to normal and is safe to return," performance manager Justin Crow said of Heppell on Tuesday.

"One of those is a CogSport test, which is a test that uses a baseline from the pre-season.

"Dyson's passed that test, he trained well yesterday (and) we're expecting him to be good to go for the game against the West Coast Eagles."

Smith has quickly become an important player at his new club, averaging over eight tackles a game in 12 appearances this season since crossing from GWS.

"Devon had a kick to the calf during the game, which we knew about, it was reasonably early in the game," Crow said.

"It's not impossible to get a knock and then strain your calf afterwards because of the blood in the area. Fortunately that hasn't happened, it was just a kick in the calf."

Darcy Parish (thumb) and David Zaharakis (shoulder) continue to make progress from their respective surgeries.

Parish could be available in three weeks, while Zaharakis will be eyeing a return toward the end of the season.

But Marty Gleeson (ankle) has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation and will need the Bombers to make an unlikely run to the finals if he is to feature again this season.