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Power can’t be ‘foolish’ against pick-off masters

Sam Gray returns as the Power attempt to beat their bogey side

PORT Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley hopes the correlation between his greyhounds and the fate of his footy team doesn’t follow the usual pattern.

Hinkley cheered on Cairnlea Kenny to a win at Angle Park on Thursday night – a result, that in the past – wouldn’t be good news for the Power’s chances against West Coast at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

“Don’t even ask that question,” Hinkley told reporters on Friday.

“It normally hasn’t been great, but it will be great tomorrow.”

The Power (12-7) have had their own issues against the Eagles, losing five of their past six to Adam Simpson’s side.

Another defeat would leave the Power in danger of slipping out of the top eight ahead of a tough run home – Collingwood at the MCG followed by a Friday night round 23 encounter with Essendon at Adelaide Oval.

Denying the Eagles’ defence, led by All-Australian Jeremy McGovern, the opportunity to pick off the Power’s attacking raids will be crucial in the result.

“They’re known for that against everyone in the competition,” Hinkley said.

“There’s a battle between breaking that down and getting the results we want.

“We’ll always try and get something a bit different if it’s not working, because it’d be foolish to stay in the same space.”

Key defender Dougal Howard returns for the Power after missing the past two games with a broken left hand.

“No-one plays with a couple of little cracks in your hand at 100 per cent, but he’s well enough to play, and that’s really important,” Hinkley said.

“He’s had a couple of weeks off and he’ll have some support to make sure he can get through the game.

“I asked him that yesterday, are you right to play? ‘Absolutely right to play, ready to go’.”

Small forward Sam Gray has been recalled after 40 disposals in the SANFL last weekend, while Aidyn Johnson also comes back in to bring pressure to the forward half.

Out goes midfield bull Sam Powell-Pepper, the 20-year-old given a rest after averaging just 12 disposals and 1.67 clearances in the past three weeks.

“Sam (Powell-Pepper) is just a little bit out of form,” Hinkley said.

“He’s not winning enough ball, he’s not winning enough contested ball, he’s not winning enough clearances.

“He’s in the team to provide us with clearance and contested ball and his numbers have been down for three weeks in a row, and significantly down.

“As much as anything, just give him a day off might be the way to get him back into that form we know he brings.”

Ideally, Powell-Pepper would have played in the SANFL this weekend, but the Power’s reserves have a bye.

Defenders Jack Hombsch and Riley Bonner have been omitted.