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'Very confident' Hird unsure when he will receive ASADA report

I love my club: Hird James Hird speaks after the AFL receives the ASADA report into Essendon's 2011-12 supplement program
Bombers coach James Hird walks through a crowd of supporters during an Essendon Bombers press conference at Windy Hill in Melbourne on August 3, 2013. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
A large contingent of fans turned out at Windy Hill on Saturday morning
I love Essendon, I've always been apart of it and I want to be part of it going forward
James Hird
JAMES Hird has declared his love for the Bombers the morning after the AFL received the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's interim report into the club's 2011-12 supplement program.

Speaking at Windy Hill on Saturday morning, Hird said he was still coaching the Bombers despite public pressure to resign because 'I love my football club'.

Hird refused once again to be drawn into specifics of the ASADA investigation, but said the Bombers remained confident they would be playing finals.

An estimated 500 Essendon fans were at the ground to watch training and they broke into applause when Hird walked through the crowd to meet the media.

The Bomber legend was then applauded at the end of the press conference.

It was a huge show of support for Hird, with fans holding 'Stand by Hird' placards and chanting "We are Essendon".

Despite the pressure surrounding him and his football club Hird was defiant as ever.

"I love my football club," Hird said.

"I love Essendon, I've always been apart of it and I want to be part of it going forward."

The near 400-page ASADA report was handed to the AFL on Friday night, with the AFL's legal counsel Andrew Dillon to pour through the lengthy document.

Hird said he and the players remain in the dark about how the things will carry out.

"Look, all I can say is we, as the players and the coach, don't know anything about the report. We don't know the process," Hird said.

The Bombers play against Collingwood on Sunday afternoon and Hird said the outside distractions would not affect his players any more than it has previously.


The media pack and Bomber fans listen to James Hird at Windy Hill on Saturday morning. Picture: AFL Media

"I don't think anything's changed for the players. It's been an ongoing process that we've been going through for at least six months now," he said.

On football matters, Hird said Bombers skipper Jobe Watson is right to go after missing three weeks with a broken collarbone.

"That was the doctor's call and the surgeon's call and they're very confident he'll get through the game and have no problems," Hird said.

Scott Gumbleton also returns for his first game since round 10. Gumbleton, who booted five goals in a dominant performance in the VFL last week, replaces Michael Hurley who was forced out with an ankle injury.

Veteran Dustin Fletcher and athletic defender Kyle Hardingham are the other Bomber inclusions.

"One of the benefits of having so many quality talls in our team is that they have to put the acid on themselves … so they understand to get back in to the team you've got to force your way back in.

"We don't hand out opportunities in that area, so Scott's (Gumbleton) done that and hopefully he can put some great form on the board tomorrow afternoon."

Mobile forward Stewart Crameri will play in the VFL on Saturday in the hope of gaining some much needed match fitness.


James Hird answers questions on Saturday morning. Picture: AFL Media

Ben Guthrie is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter @AFL_BenGuthrie
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs