Versatile key position player Brennan Cox has been backed by teammate James Aish to step up into a key defender role in the early rounds of the 2020 season.

Fremantle are set to start the season without key backs Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling in their starting 22, with both recovering from ankle injuries.

While Pearce is expected to return early in 2020, Hamling could miss the first half of the season.

Cox has played primarily as a key forward at Fremantle, kicking 27 goals from 34 games and impressing with 51 contested marks. 

Aish said he believes Cox will be an asset down back. 

“Brennan’s looked really good and he was training in defence before Joel Hamling’s injury happened,” Aish said on the 3AW Sportsday program.

“He’s had basically a full pre-season there. He rarely gets beaten one-on-one from what I’ve seen.

“He offers good bounce out of the backline as well, so it will be good to see how he goes.”

Aish also had praise for former Fremantle player and new assistant coach Josh Carr, who has been slated as a potential AFL senior coach.

“I could definitely see (Carr as a senior coach) he’s really good, he’s still got that hard edge which he played with,” Aish said.

“He’s really smart, he sees the game well and he’s good at building relationships, which is pretty important these days.

“It’s great we’ve got a lot of ex-players back at the club as well, which helps with our tradition and building the culture and what Freo’s all about.”\