Injuries, unhelpful fixturing and a funeral won't stop Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley preaching positives ahead of Friday night's AFL preliminary final clash with Sydney.
Key forward Chris Dawes, battling a knee medial ligament injury sustained on Saturday night, showed nothing at the Magpies' recovery session on Tuesday to suggest he would be ready for the ANZ Stadium clash.
But while Buckley offered little on that, he was expansive on Collingwood's strong travelling record, their favourable recent history against Sydney and their ability to win in adversity.
While most Magpies players participated in light training drills at St Kilda beach, all Dawes and Alan Didak (calf) did was go for a walk, then stand and handball to each other, with Didak throwing in a few short kicks.
Dawes, crucial as ruck back-up to Darren Jolly, was obviously limping and wearing tracksuit pants to hide his knee strapping.
Asked if Dawes was unlikely to face the Swans, Buckley gave a flat "No" and would say little more under repeated questioning.
"We have a full session tomorrow and we'll see how they pull up," Buckley said, refusing to detail how much of the session Dawes and Didak would need to complete.
It will be the club's last before the game.
Collingwood face a six-day break between matches, compared to the Swans' 13, with Thursday dedicated to the funeral of former Magpie John McCarthy, then the flight to Sydney.
Buckley said that would not compromise their preparation.
"There's no excuses ... We'll pay respect to J-Mac, to his family, then we'll get about our business," he said.
Underlining the difficulty posed by facing a well-rested opponent, the past 10 clubs that have hosted preliminary finals have won.
In Collingwood's favour, Buckley noted two of their best three performances this season have come outside Victoria and the other was Saturday night's semi-final win over West Coast.
Those performances have reinforced the Magpies' belief that they can win under any circumstances, given the emotional fall-out last week from McCarthy's death, and anywhere.
Particularly at ANZ Stadium, where they have beaten the Swans in their past seven meetings, most pertinently in round 20.
"Five weeks ago we were able to go up there, play well, play our brand of footy and get over the line in a fairly tight tussle," Buckley said.
"We don't expect anything different.
"We like the venue, we have recent history against that team, we don't mind travelling."
Buckley also noted that Dane Swan, Ben Johnson, Andrew Krakouer and Tyson Goldsack were missing for the round 20 clash, while Dale Thomas was subbed off early, but all will be playing on Friday night.
"It's pretty hard to argue against the fact that we're going to be better presented from a personnel perspective," he said.