ALAN BROGAN will, barring injury setback, be part of Jim Gavin's Dublin squad this Saturday night when a presumably badly stung Kildare team come to Croke Park.
The 2011 Footballer of the Year has already played one full match in his comeback from chronic injury – during the Dubs' spring opener against Kerry last month – but took no part in either the win against Westmeath in Mullingar or last Saturday's defeat by Cork.
According to Gavin, Brogan "should definitely", play a part against the Lilies on the proviso that he comes through this week's training programme unscathed, and Darren Daly could now come into Dublin's defensive reckoning after missing Dublin's three League matches thus far.
The involvement of both All Star full-back Rory O'Carroll and Paul Flynn remains uncertain, however.
"Rory picked up a knock in a training game leading into the Kerry match," outlined Gavin, "so we just took the precaution of resting him up until he was right so he is more or less there now. At the moment we just have to make sure he is a hundred per cent.
"As is Paul Flynn, who just had a muscle strain in the warm-up and on a different day, we might have tried him but at this stage of the season, you need to ensure players are a hundred per cent fit rather than risk them."
O'Carroll, in particular, would be a welcome re-addition, given that Seán George, who started in the number three jersey on Saturday, lasted just 25 minutes of the match, having endured a difficult evening in the company of Cork's John Hayes.
O'Carroll's sole appearance of the season came during Dublin's O'Byrne Cup defeat by DCU back in January and he has, in the past, regularly gotten the better of Kildare's Tomás O'Connor. The Lilies' full-forward scored a goal during their defeat by Tyrone, a result that featured a calamitous ending for Jason Ryan's men when they conceded two goals in injury time to contrive to lose by a point.
"Bernard (Brogan) still has a bit of work to do," continued Gavin of those who would definitely miss out on Saturday night, "along with Denis Bastick and Dean Rock. There's a mixture of players who over the next three to four weeks we should begin to see slowly take the field and a few guys who might be a bit further than that."
It is not, however, such a straight-forward week for Gavin, given the involvement of a significant chunk of his squad in tomorrow night's Leinster U21 FC clash between Dublin and Carlow in Carlow IT (7.30).
Presently, eight players co-habit Gavin and Dessie Farrell's squads and seven are expected to play tomorrow night, namely Jack McCaffrey, Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Davey Byrne, Eric Lowndes, Shane Carthy and Cormac Costello, while Emmet Ó Conghaile is not yet back fully fit from injury.
"Both management teams are in close communication. We just need to wait and see how those players come out of that game. So again, the U21 team are not looking beyond the Carlow game and we're not looking beyond it either.
"We need to wait to see what happens in that game to decide what will happen for those players."
Quite how their involvement will colour Gavin's team selection although given that Dublin beat Carlow by 4-27 to 0-2 in the same competition last year – albeit in Parnell Park – it remains to be seen what toll tomorrow's game will take.
"It's on a case-by-case basis," Gavin insisted. "Some players have played a lot because of Sigerson or Trench Cup and club commitments last week. We let the players go back to the clubs so that is a lot of demands on the body and over the expanse of the season, we need to take that into consideration.
"We have to make sure there are no soft tissue strains from over-stress. We take it on a case by case basis after Wednesday."
On Kildare, who suffered a nightmare ending to an otherwise impressive afternoon's football against Tyrone in Newbridge on Sunday, Gavin commented: "They did everything but win the game and they've looked impressive in the first three games. The two games in which they've been beaten, they've only lost by a point and they've had a very good pre-season tournament in winning the O'Byrne Cup and that's a testament to what they've done in the pre-season and they've carried that over into the league and they've looked very impressive.
Gavin branded Jason Ryan's men: "A very fit side, very well organised, because Jason always has teams well organised."
"So it's going to be a very tough game and I'm sure there'll be a sting in the tail because they'll be very disappointed at having lost in Newbridge," he concluded.