CARLTON’S co-captains are ready to go ahead of the AFL side’s return to action.

The Blues will get their first shot at external opposition this Thursday, taking on Essendon in a practice match from Ikon Park at 11am.

It was announced earlier this week that the practice match will be live-streamed for Carlton members.

Two players who could very well be out there are Patrick Cripps and Sam Docherty, who have recovered from post-season operations to be fit and firing with the season around the corner.

Director of High Performance Andrew Russell lauded the two skippers for their pre-seasons to date.

“‘Crippa’ has had a fantastic preparation,” Russell said.

“His shoulder is strong and he’s back in full training, he has been for a couple of weeks.

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“Expect him to play this week and get back into it.”

As for Docherty, who had ankle surgery over the off-season, Russell said the 27-year-old had surpassed all expectations with his workload this summer.

Having also juggled health issues in recent months, Docherty is ready to go with the home-and-away season now 23 days away.

“Docherty’s ankle has tracked really, really well: we’ve been really pleased and it has settled quicker than we thought it was going to at the start,” he said.

“In the end, he’s going to have a very good preparation and would have done more work that we thought he was going to.”