Essendon assistant coach Mark Harvey expects Conor McKenna to return to Australia next week with a view to being available for the first week of the new AFL season.

McKenna returned to Ireland earlier this month due to "homesickness and family-related reasons" and it was unclear when he would return.

He has not featured for Tyrone despite speculation. 

Harvey told the Brisbane Times: "We've been in constant contact, the club, with Conor over the period of time that he's been away, hope he's enjoying himself and relaxing.

"We'd like to think that he comes back pretty soon and hopefully we can have him available for selection too.

"It's looking promising and our support staff have done an enormous job with this.

"He's done the majority of pre-season [training] and he's still training over there.

"Conor is a guy that comes up really quick ... so I would say that Conor, pending when he does come back, that he'll be available for round one."