Fremantle is confident Michael Johnson will play in round one of the home and away season, with the key defender set to return to full training this week.

Johnson missed Freo's 2014 finals losses to the Sydney Swans and Port Adelaide with a lower back injury and underwent surgery in September.

The 2013 All Australian has made solid progress in his rehabilitation and Freo expect he will be fit to take on Port Adelaide in their season-opener on Easter Sunday.

Fremantle football manager Chris Bond told News Ltd that Johnson could even play in the NAB Challenge.

"Michael will be back into footy next week," Bond said.

"He's more or less done everything in recovery that he has got to do.

"We're really pleased with him and we're expecting him back into the football program."

Fremantle open the NAB Challenge with a clash against Melbourne at Fremantle Oval on March 5, then play the Swans at Drummoyne Oval on March 15 and West Coast at Patersons Stadium on March 22.

Freo has also been bolstered by utility Garrick Ibbotson's recent return to full training.

Ibbotson underwent surgery on his right shoulder in October after dislocating it twice last year, first when attempting a spoil against Hawthorn in round three and again in Fremantle's semi-final loss to Port Adelaide.

Ibbotson underwent the same surgery that Nat Fyfe had at the end of 2012, the Latarjet procedure that takes a small amount of bone from the front of the shoulder and fuses it into the spot where the dislocation occurred.

The utility has been able to complete a full running program this pre-season and is confident his shoulder will withstand the rigours of another AFL season.

"I think there's about a one per cent chance of a dislocation again," Ibbotson told Fremantle's website.

"I was a little bit limited with contact, even though we weren't doing a whole lot pre-Christmas, but coming back post-Christmas I've been able to join in with the main group and got through without any issues."

Ruckman Aaron Sandilands and tagger Ryan Crowley have both been on reduced training loads recently as they have struggled with back soreness. 

Bond expected both players would get some match practice under their belts before round one.

"Crowley is more or less into the full program now and Aaron with his back complaints, it's not major," Bond said.

"It's more to make sure that he gets through and we're pretty comfortable with where he is at.

"He hasn't missed too much running or anything like that. He's been kept out of a few football drills, but it's not major."