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ET: Worsfold wary

Essendon coach John Worsfold is wary of the intensity North Melbourne will bring to the contest on Saturday afternoon.

“The pressure they’re putting on around the contest looks like it’s been a focus for them,” Worsfold said.

“I don’t think (Ben) Cunnington has been any tougher in the last five weeks then he has been all the time.

“(Jack) Ziebell is getting a bit more time around the ball and he’s obviously a strong player as well.

“Overall there’s been increased pressure around contest.

“They’re in good form, we’re really looking forward to it."

The ruck battle looks to be an important one, with in-form Todd Goldstein likely to match-up on Zac Clarke.

Worsfold says there will be plan in place to restrict the 2015 All Australian’s contribution.

“We’ve got options for Zac Clarke taking him on.

“We’ll assess all of that and we’ll work out the way to go about it, but it’ll make planning a little bit easier in terms of Zac being aware of what he’s going to be up against.

“All we can ask of Zac is to play his role.”

Dylan Clarke has been a revelation for the Bombers in a tagging role, and the Essendon coach says he is a chance to line-up on the influential Cunnington.

Worsfold is also hoping two of his key figures will be ready to go by Saturday afternoon, as Dyson Heppell and Michael Hurley look to prove their fitness.

"We hope he'll (Heppell) be ready to go. If it (foot) was really sore, we'd probably rule him out today. If it's still progressing, we'll give him another couple of days. We'll see how it goes today,” Worsfold said.

"'Hurls' should be right. They were just checking things out just to get a feel for where he was at.”