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Crows prepare back-up plan

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media, with staff writers  April 19, 2017 1:28 PM

AFL 2017 Round 04 - Adelaide Crows v Essendon

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Richard Douglas of the Crows handpasses the ball during the 2017 AFL round 04 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Bombers at the Adelaide Oval on April 15, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by AFL Media)

He's every chance, but he'll have to be assessed

Adelaide will need to be creative with its defensive options after Jake Kelly was ruled out of Saturday's clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

Kelly, 22, was poked in the eye in the second quarter of the Crows' win against Essendon last weekend and was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Versatile defender Kyle Cheney (hamstring) is still at least a couple of weeks away from returning, while second-year backman Tom Doedee only played his first game back from a knee injury in the SANFL on the weekend.

Untried onballer Harrison Wigg is in the mix to come into the side for his AFL debut, while wingman David Mackay could move to the backline to allow Brad Crouch to play his first game of the season.

Forward Josh Jenkins is also highly unlikely to return from a rib injury after doing only light training on Wednesday morning at Football Park.

Jenkins has missed the past two games with fractured ribs and cartilage damage sustained against Hawthorn in Round Two.

Midfielder Richard Douglas said Jenkins did everything required of him during the session.

"Josh got through today and he moved quite well," Douglas said.

"I'm sure he's keen to play, but it comes down to Don (coach Don Pyke) and the fitness staff and they will see how he pulls up tomorrow.

"I wouldn't say he did all the contact work, he'll probably do that tomorrow.

"He's every chance, but he'll have to be assessed."

Crouch pushed his claims to make his first appearance of the season with 71 possessions in two games in the SANFL after being sidelined since January with a hamstring injury.

"He'd love to play, but it's something that certainly won't be rushed," Douglas said.

"He showed some good form in the SANFL, he's highly important to us so we'll make sure he's done enough work.

"I don't think he's played a full game in the SANFL (yet) so he'll have to do that before he puts his hand up for selection."

Douglas will become the 15th player in Crows history to play 200 games for the club when he takes to the field against the Suns.

"It's not something I really expected, being a young boy from country Victoria, coming across and joining the Crows, but it's something I'm really happy and proud of," Douglas said.

"I've played a lot more minutes through the midfield this year whereas in 2015 and 2016 I played a bit more forward for the team, which I was more than happy to do.

"I feel midfield suits the way I play a bit more."