Fremantle coach Mark Harvey remains confident Michael Barlow will return this season despite the star midfielder experiencing soreness in the leg he broke last year.

Barlow resumed running duties earlier this year but his playing return will be delayed after feeling recent tenderness in his left leg.

He broke his leg against Port Adelaide in round 14 at Subiaco Oval last season.

The setback is only minor but Harvey says the club’s medical staff wants to take a cautious approach to ensure no further damage will be done.

“There’s a little bit of tenderness in and around the area, but not the direct area,” Harvey said.

“We’ve just got to monitor it.

“I’d like to be able to say he’ll be out on the track next week, but there’s just a delay with him at the moment.

“I’d like to give you a date to be honest, but it’s just unreasonable at the moment.”

Despite Barlow’s setback, Harvey says the 23-year-old is still on track to feature this season.

“Michael’s determined more than any other player I’ve seen just to get back and hopefully resemble what he did prior to the injury,” Harvey said.

“He’s got skinny legs and we just need to keep building up in that area.

“When you have a major injury to a lower leg then there are complications around that coming back.”

Harvey says midfielder Garrick Ibbotson is a chance to return from an ankle injury for Sunday’s twilight fixture with North Melbourne at Subiaco Oval.

But defender Alex Silvagni is set to spend at least two more weeks on the sidelines as he battles to overcome the effects of a recent stomach illness.

Ruckman Aaron Sandilands, who suffered eye damage last week following an accidental poke from Adelaide’s Richard Tambling, is also set to be right to take on the Kangaroos.

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