A chance: Jason Holmes Photo: AFL Media/Getty ImagesSt Kilda’s American big man Jason Holmes is on standby for fellow ruckman Tom Hickey, who has been unwell in the lead-up to Sunday’s clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

Holmes, 26, played three games at the end of last season, but is yet to feature so far in 2016. He was named as an emergency for the match against the Bombers, with coach Alan Richardson explaining that Hickey was no certainty to take on the Dons.

“[Holmes is] a chance. Hick’s just been a bit crook. We’d expect Hick to play,” Richardson said on Friday at Seaford.

“If it is that he doesn’t come up then Holmesy will have a crack at it.”

Two men who Richardson said would play were Sam Fisher and Paddy McCartin. Fisher missed last Sunday’s 103-point loss to West Coast with soreness, but has overcome the issue, while McCartin has been recalled after three rounds out of the senior side. Daniel McKenzie has also been included.

Richardson said he had been happy with McCartin’s AFL form this year.

“His game down in Tasmania against the Hawks is a good example of that – he potentially could have won the game for us late, with a really big, strong mark.”

The No. 1 draft pick of 2014 will take his place in a tall St Kilda forward line, with Richardson revealing that Tim Membrey, Josh Bruce and Nick Riewoldt would all play alongside McCartin. It will be the first time the quartet – all 188 centimetres or taller – have played together.

Riewoldt, 33, is expected to sign a new deal with the Saints soon. He has been spending significant more time in the midfield this year,  with Richardson flagging an even greater role up the field for the skipper. “At the moment, it’s probably been 40 per cent midfield, 60 per cent forward.

“That might swing around. It might be more 50-50.”

In any case, Richardson said he was “comfortable with four of them going forward”.

Midfielder Blake Acres was the Rising Star nominee just three weeks ago, but his form has dropped off since. Acres trained with the club’s VFL group on Friday, and was omitted from the Saints’ side along with Jack Lonie and Jack Sinclair. Richardson said Acres “hasn’t had a great couple of weeks. “

“Obviously three weeks ago he was really good for us.

“He knows that there’s some areas he needs to work on but he’s still a chance to play in this one.”

Injury-prone speedster Nathan Freeman pulled up well after returning in the VFL development league last weekend, but Richardson confirmed the former Collingwood midfielder will again sit out this week.

“Freezer pulled up really well, but our plan was always that he was going to play, and then we were going to put a bit more load into him.

“[We’re taking a] really conservative approach for Freezer. He’s embraced that.

“You can imagine a young bloke coming to a new footy club wants to play but he’s got real clarity around what it looks like for him.”

The Bombers made two changes with James Gwilt and Martin Gleeson returning at the expense of Nathan Grima (hip) and Ryan Crowley (omitted).

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