Essendon are confident that Conor McKenna will return to Australia for the start of the AFL season next month.
McKenna travelled to Ireland a fortnight ago due to what the club called "homesickness and family-related reasons".
The 23-year-old Tyrone man has become an established member of the Essendon team since joining in 2014.
"We've been in constant contact, the club, with Conor over the period of time that he's been away, hope he's enjoying himself and relaxing," assistant coach Mark Harvey told the Brisbane Times.
We'd like to think that he comes back pretty soon and hopefully we can have him available for selection too. It's looking promising and our support staff have done an enormous job with this.
He's done the majority of pre-season [training] and he's still training over there. Conor is a guy that comes up really quick... so I would say that Conor, pending when he does come back, that he'll be available for round one.
Essendon play Fremantle in their first game of the season on March 21st.