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Hird expects Bombers to stick with him despite full-scale review

Tanking talk, Hird's word, Mundy ready Matt Thompson with Friday Footy Feed
James Hird, Senior Coach of the Bombers addresses the media during the Essendon Bombers training session at the True Value Solar Centre, Melbourne on August 14, 2015. (Photo: Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
James Hird at Essendon training on Friday
My job is to coach the team as well as I can, win as many games as we can and play the best football we can over the next four weeks
James Hird

JAMES Hird expects Essendon to stay the course and honour his coaching contract for next season, despite the Bombers initiating a wide-ranging review of their football department.

Pressure on Hird has escalated this year because of the Bombers' on-field woes, having only been able to lead the club to fives wins in 2015. They sit 15th on the ladder and look set to record their fewest wins in a season since 2006.

The club has started a review of its performance in the football program, which is expected to be concluded with recommendations by the end of the home and away season.

Hird, whose contract expires with the Bombers at the end of 2016 having nearly lost the job last year, said he expects the club to stick with him.

"I think so, but that's not really for me to speculate. My job is to coach the team as well as I can, win as many games as we can and play the best football we can over the next four weeks. That's what I can do," he said on Friday ahead of the Bombers' meeting with Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.

"Speculating or worrying about how a review is going that's underway is not my role. I will do the best job I can and the result will be what it will be."

Hird denied this year had been a wasted season for the Bombers, but admitted a cloud continues to hang over the club as it waits for a final decision after the World Anti-Doping Agency's decision to appeal the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal's call to clear the 34 past and present Essendon players with infraction notices.

WADA's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport may be heard in November, and Hird said even if someone else was coaching the club the same issue remained until the players are cleared for good.

"We're confident we're doing the best job we can do with the list we have and the injuries we've got to produce a good football team," Hird said.

"There's no doubt that until the WADA decision is handed down there is still a cloud over the club. And until that gets removed, then we're all just waiting.

"But whether I'm at the club or someone else is the coach, that WADA appeal will still be there. I think once that goes, and we believe the guys will be found not guilty, then we can all move on."

If there is any silver lining for Essendon in its horror season, it is the fact the Bombers will be able to select a highly rated player at this year's NAB AFL Draft.

Having been stripped of three early draft selections in the past two years through the supplements saga penalties, the Bombers are back in the draft this year and presently hold pick No.4.

Hird identified the midfield as an area that the club needed to boost.

"We need quality midfielders. Some of our midfielders are getting on in age and obviously have two or three years left in them, but we need to now restock that," Hird said.

"We all hope to get a really good contested ball inside midfielder who can run with elite speed and has beautiful kicking skills and kicks goals. That's what we'd all like. If there's one of those out there we'll go and grab him." 

Geelong Falcons midfielder Darcy Parish would be a contender for that selection after his excellent season, with other top midfield candidates Callum Mills (Sydney Swans) and Jacob Hopper (GWS) tied to the academy clubs.