Fremantle coach Mark Harvey hopes the impending return of several key players will transform the Dockers into a major force for the remainder of the season.

The sixth-placed Dockers have defied one of the worst injury runs in the league this year to post a creditable 8-6 win-loss record heading into this weekend’s bye.

The recent returns of Alex Silvagni, Roger Hayden and Antoni Grover from injury have helped ease the load, while the squad will be further bolstered when midfielder Michael Barlow slots back in for next week’s away clash with Sydney.

And with ruckman Aaron Sandilands (toe), defender Nick Suban (leg) and veteran Adam McPhee (knee) also nearing returns, Harvey expects his team to show vast improvement in the remaining eight matches of the home-and-away season.

“We’ve had our difficulty with availability and, hopefully, we can get somewhere near our best side out on the park in the next couple of weeks, so anything can happen,” Harvey told Perth radio station 6PR.

“I’d like to think we’ve got a lot of improvement in our side in the coming weeks.

“We’ve put ourselves in a situation where we can control hopefully where we finish.

“We’ve got an important phase so all the players understand how important it is for us to make sure that mentally and physically we’re ready for what lies ahead.

“As it stands, we haven’t beaten any sides above us at the moment, so that’s a real area of need for us.”

Emerging Dockers star Nat Fyfe says the club’s bye has come at the perfect time, allowing the team’s sore bodies to get a well-earned rest.

“At the start of the season, when we had the bye, we probably didn’t really need it but now that the body is a little bit sore and the mind needs refreshing, it’s really important to get it now,” he said.

“Last time we had the bye, we lost the week after so this time it’s a bit different.

“We’ve got a little bit more training to do. I think we’re training on the weekend but, as I said, this time we really needed the bye, we really needed the break so we’ll be fresh coming up against Sydney next week.”

Thirteen teams are still in the hunt for the finals, but Fyfe claims he has barely looked at where everyone stands on the ladder.

“Obviously, every win is really important, but I myself don’t really know what the exact points are and where we sit exactly,” he said.

“We’ve just got to get a win against Sydney next week and try our hardest for the rest of the season.”

Fyfe has grown three centimetres and put on around 14 kilograms since being snared by the Dockers with pick number 20 in the 2009 national draft.

That pick has turned out to be an absolute steal, with the midfielder/forward fast establishing himself as one of the most important players at Fremantle.

The 19-year-old has averaged 25.6 possessions a match this season and has also booted 14 goals to put himself in line for All-Australian selection.

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