Essendon captain Jobe Watson needs help in the midfield if the Bombers are going to keep their spot in the top eight, and re-enforcements are on the way.
Midfield ace Brent Stanton is certain to return for this Saturday's crunch game against Carlton after sitting out the past two games with a hamstring injury and explosive runner David Zaharakis could also be back, as long as he gets the green light from the medical staff today.
Zaharakis has missed the past 10 games with a quad injury and his blistering pace is what the Bombers badly need, as is the class of ruckman Paddy Ryder, who is also a chance to resume against the Blues after recovering from a calf injury.
Watson would not say it himself as he fielded questions from reporters this morning, but the 27-year-old carried the midfield against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium last night, gathering 32 disposals - 11 more than any of his team-mates.
What Watson did make clear was that Essendon - clinging to eighth spot after four straight losses - needed an even spread of contributions from its on-ballers turnaround its form slump and play finals.
"What we've got is Brent Stanton and David Zaharakis, two really important players for us, out at the moment," he said.
"Jason Winderlich, who is a really important player for us, wasn't there at the weekend.
"I think we've got to be an even midfield group, and I think when we are playing well, we've got a lot of contributors.
"I think at the moment, the personnel isn't enabling us to do that.
"But the guys who are out there, we all recognise we've got a job to do, and whoever is out there has the ability to win a one-on-one contest at any situation of a game.
"Last week (against Adelaide) we played really consistently as a group at a high level. Even though we didn't get the result, the midfield group and their ability to play one-on-one and beat their opponent was pretty good.
"North was just stronger than us at that last night."
Watson, who lay awake for much of last night reliving moments and going over the what-ifs from the loss to the Roos, said he did not feel he was under pressure to lift the midfield single-handedly during games.
"When we are playing well as a group then everyone is feeling good. At the moment, when you lose four in a row, it's very difficult to get the guys mentally up," Watson said.
"And that is the challenge of the game, is to be able to fight your way through down patches and will yourself out of that," he said.
"At the moment we just haven't been as strong as our opposition."
The Bombers will be searching all week for an explanation as to how were - with everything to play for - over-run by a North Melbourne team playing with just two interchange rotations for most of the match, and just one halfway through a tense and frenetic last quarter. Watson did his best to explain this morning.
"What you have to do is prepare yourself for the first quarter and you don't worry about what is going to happen in the third or fourth," he said.
"I think that's what we struggled with yesterday, was probably thinking 'is the scoreboard in our favour, is it not in our favour'.
"Rather than just contest to contest and working through the game that way."
Once thought of as a potential top four contender after winning eight of their first nine game, the Bombers have now lost five out of their last six and only a small percentage difference separates them and ninth-placed Fremantle.
Watson said the Bombers believe they can win their last three games - all three to be played at the MCG in front of big crowds - starting with the Blues and finishing with tests against Richmond and Collingwood.
"What we do have, by being more completive in the first half of the year, is that if we win the games (in the run home) than we will make the eight. If we don't, then we probably don't deserve to be there," he said.