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Neeld to face Melbourne board

Peter Ryan   May 30, 2013 2:10 PM

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Melbourne coach Mark Neeld will face the club board next Monday

MELBOURNE coach Mark Neeld is set to face the club's board next Monday to discuss the Demons' woeful start to 2013.

His appearance comes amid speculation that the board will decide on his future at the meeting.

Melbourne has won just once this season, against bottom side Greater Western Sydney, and sits 17th on the ladder with a percentage of 53.5.

It has won only five games since Neeld took over as coach at the start of 2012.

Former club best and fairest winner Gerard Healy said earlier in the week that Neeld had two weeks to prove he was the right man for the job. Healy's younger brother Greg is the club's football director.

Neeld told a media conference on Thursday he regularly spoke to the board about the team's performance and had spoken to president Don McLardy that morning about Sunday's meeting with ladder-leaders Hawthorn.

He had also spoken to interim club CEO Peter Jackson earlier in the week, as he had done since Jackson arrived.

"We've all got – players, board, administrators, coaches –a clear understanding of where we're at, where we want to get to and how we're going to get there.

"We're really disappointed – we're a little bit behind where we thought we were going to be at this stage.

"We knew it was going to be difficult. My contract is for three years and I am half-way through it."

Neeld said external pressure would only impact on him if he allowed it to.

"I'm not letting it. I'm pretty clear on what my job is - to coach the Melbourne Football Club – and that is what I am doing."

He said coping with pressure was part of being involved in professional football.

"That is how it works, we all know that."

The players, Neeld insisted, were relatively unaffected by the crisis surrounding the club and were focusing on their jobs.

"They do come by and say, 'How are you going?', so we have a quick chat about that but then you just channel it into, these are the things we are working on over the next few weeks."

Changes are expected after last week's 90-point loss to Fremantle with Jack Fitzpatrick to be named for his first game for the season after good form in the VFL.

Neeld said Cameron Pedersen might also be in line for a recall and Tom McDonald's place in the side depended on how he pulled up from training.

Although the Hawks will go in overwhelming favourites, Neeld said the team believed it could win.

He said he would be coaching to develop the team and would not be doing anything to protect the scoreboard.

"We've been unable to piece together consistent performances. We're aware of that. We see glimpses of it and we are going to give it our absolute best."