Swans coach cautious about Hickey’s return

Sydney’s Tom Hickey and Harry Cunningham are returning from injury as coach John Longmire refuses to buy into his club’s AFL top four.

Ruckman Hickey has been sidelined since round 10 with a toe injury and Cunningham has not played since round seven due to a laceration to his abdomen.

Longmire expects both to be available but isn’t sure yet if they will earn immediate AFL recalls for Sydney’s away game against Port Adelaide on Saturday.

Hickey is more likely to return, but Longmire wants to keep an eye on how his first-choice ruck recovers from Thursday’s practice before making a selection interview.

“We make sure with Tom in particular that he gets a good training under his belt, that’s the most important aspect for us,” Longmire told reporters on Tuesday.

“How his toe pulls up is very important and then we’ll make a decision, does he need another week of training, will he play this week if it’s reserves or seniors.

“We’ll work that out, but we’re very aware that he’s missed quite a few training and games this year with his knee and toe.”

Longmire said Hickey’s fellow ruckman Peter Ladhams would play against his former side Port, while star striker Lance Franklin returns from suspension for the Adelaide Oval game.

But Longmire was not interested in his side’s prospects of climbing into the top four.

The Swans are seventh but only one win behind fourth-seeded Carlton, after impressive victories over Richmond and Melbourne before their farewells last weekend.

“Coaches from all clubs probably don’t think too much about it, and players, because you get so process-driven,” he said.

“It’s something that takes some time outside of football clubs.

“But inside, it doesn’t take much time, if any, because it’s just irrelevant to what’s happening now.”

Port is in 12th spot, three wins from the top eight, but Longmire noted that the Power has the best defensive record in the competition since round six.

“Their defensive moves are excellent at the moment, very difficult to score against,” he said.

“And they have a midfield and a forward formation that can really hit the scoreboard.

“So their best footy is as good as anyone who’s been around for a number of years.”