INTERIM Hawthorn senior coach Brendon Bolton says he's had "minimal discussion" with Alastair Clarkson about Sunday's clash with Greater Western Sydney and doesn't expect any direction from his mentor on game day.
On Saturday, Bolton fronted reporters for the first time as Hawks coach since Clarkson was diagnosed with the debilitating Guillain-Barre syndrome on Monday night.
Bolton spoke with Clarkson on Friday after visiting him in hospital earlier in the week and said the two-time premiership coach was solely focused on recovery.
Asked if he expected Clarkson to provide some coaching tips this week, Bolton replied: "No, I wouldn't have thought so.
"I've touched in with 'Clarko' and he's progressing really well.
"His focus and energy has just been on his recovery so we haven't had a lot of football discussion.
"We'll find out in coming weeks how stable it is because we just want his health to be the focus.
"What he's really excited about is just showing that our club is really strong and united and really steely.
"All our coaches and players have got behind each other. We just want to show that we're a united front."
The reigning premiers are expected to have little trouble rebounding from consecutive losses when they come up against a Giants outfit that has been thumped by a combined 224 points in its past two matches.
They will have to do without Ben Stratton who withdrew from the Hawks' squad on Saturday with an adductor injury. His place in the team has been taken by Angus Litherland, with Alex Woodward added to the list of emergencies.
Bolton, who was the forward line coach at the Hawks before being thrust into the senior role, was quick to point out that beating the Giants at the MCG was the focus, instead of his first game in the hot-seat.
"It's probably not how I'm feeling. I'm more concerned that the mindset's nice and strong and ready to attack a game where we know GWS have been internally challenged," he said.
"When they have had wins they've had good contested ball numbers. So we know they're going to be up for a fight.
"Naturally, you're a little bit nervous but excited. But I'm like that going into all games."
Bolton hails from Tasmania and has progressed up the Hawthorn ranks after being appointed Box Hill coach in 2009.
The 35-year-old said he didn't think his indefinite reign could be an audition for a permanent senior role in future.
"No, I don't see it as an audition. This is just making sure our club's united and showing a strong front…I'm just going to make sure that happens," he said.
"One day that may happen, but my focus is making sure I have a really good apprenticeship.
"I think the time in the job is what's really important for a coach. A lot of people rush to get to the top.
"But the experiences, let them be ups or downs, are what make you resilient and ready.
"I'm really enjoying the time learning at Hawthorn and hopefully over time that just gets better."
Bolton hopes ruckman Ben McEvoy (corked hamstring) will be available for selection next week and said young tagger Will Langford had to "work on a couple of things" after being dropped.
The Hawks have welcomed back Coleman medallist Jarryd Roughead and defender Kyle Cheney to take on the Giants.
The club will release further details about Clarkson's condition on Monday.Twitter: @TravKing_AFL