NATHAN Buckley predicts his coaching career will probably end with the sack, just as it did for Mick Malthouse.

And Buckley is adamant the ugly circumstances at Carlton will not hurt Malthouse's standing in the game.

A day after the Blues axed the three-time premiership coach, Buckley noted that when a star player retires, his whole career was remembered.

But when a coach is sacked, the focus is on what went wrong.

"When the dust settles, Mick's 30-year coaching career and his 43 years in the game will stand the test of time," Buckley said.

"That's his legacy.

"I don't think his reputation has been tarnished.”

The Collingwood coach said he would be foolish to think he could walk away from his coaching career at the top of his game.

"Nine out of 10 coaches finish their careers sacked, I would have thought,” he said.

"You very rarely get a chance to jump on the horse and ride off into the sunset.

"I'm not expecting to when my time comes."

Buckley played under Malthouse at Collingwood and then became one of his assistant coaches.

The high water mark was the 2010 premiership.

But a year later, Malthouse had a bitter departure from the club because of the succession plan that gave the senior job to Buckley.

Buckley was asked if the door was open for Malthouse to return to Collingwood.

"That's an interesting one - I wouldn't have thought in the short-term, but never say never," he said.

Collingwood assistants Scott Burns and Robert Harvey are among the potential candidates to take over as Carlton coach.

Buckley said he would talk up the duo if questioned, but added they must go in with their eyes wide open.

"There needs to be a good fit - it needs to fit your style, your personality," Buckley said.

"The club and the senior coach need to be so aligned around the way they see things, the direction they're going to travel.

"If that fit isn't right from the start, it's going to be pretty hard to be successful."

Buckley said Malthouse's sacking was another instance where a club loses a significant amount of money because of a contract payout.

"Something that hasn't sat particularly well from a Collingwood perspective is that there's been a massive drain on the industry resources by unused funds that have gone after senior coaches have been sacked mid-contract," he said.

"This is another one of those - hundreds of thousands of dollars that have gone from the industry."