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Blues near full strength for Swans clash
Robert Grant
18:39 AEST Wed Aug 1 2012

AFL finals hopefuls Carlton are set to inject several key players into their team for Saturday's match against ladder leaders Sydney.

Jarrad Waite, Kade Simpson, Mitch Robinson and Andrew Walker are all likely inclusions.

Key forward Waite, who has not played since hurting his back in round seven, has returned via the VFL and will be tested further during the week.

Coach Brett Ratten was optimistic, saying he had a strong chance of selection for the Etihad Stadium fixture.

"Even just watching the Northern Blues last weekend and seeing him patrolling that forward line and the way he moves, it just gives you a lot of hope," Ratten told reporters on Wednesday.

"He's such an influential player on the team and helps us become more potent up forward.

"He's a terrific player and we've got to get him out there."

Simpson has not played since he was knocked out in a collision with Collingwood's Sharrod Wellingham in round 15. Wellingham was suspended for three weeks.

"He got the all-clear so he'll go through a lot more physicality at training on Thursday but he's feeling fine," Ratten said.

"He's got the all-clear from his surgeon, it's more about his own confidence really."

Robinson and Walker are both returning from calf injuries which have sidelined them for the past two games.

"Robinson and Walker haven't missed a lot of football so their fitness is right, we don't have to worry," Ratten said.

"It's more if the injury is still there and it's a big risk. We won't take the risk but they are pushing to get up and play."

Ratten said that with captain Chris Judd also close to a return, the club's injury streak appeared to be easing at the right time.

Carlton (9-8) have beaten Collingwood, the Western Bulldogs and Richmond in the past three weeks but Ratten said pacesetters Sydney would provide a vital barometer.


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