ESSENDON forward Jake Carlisle has publicly endorsed besieged coach James Hird, saying he is "the right man" to lead the Bombers out of their current form slump.
It follows comments made by former Essendon interim coach Mark Thompson that Hird would struggle to keep his job as coach if the club's downward spiral continued.
But Carlisle said Thompson's comments had no merit, and pledged his support for Hird.
"It's pretty surprising," Carlisle told Channel Seven on Sunday.
"I think Hirdy's the right man for the job at the moment - he's going really well."
The Bombers were handed their fourth consecutive loss – and sixth loss in their last seven matches – after succumbing to Hawthorn by 38 points on Saturday.
Post-game, Thompson said the pressure surrounding Hird after serving his 12-month AFL ban for his part in the club's 2012 supplements program would be difficult to overcome.
"It was always going to be hard, wasn't it?" Thompson told radio station 3AW.
When asked if it there was "an inevitability" about the end of Hird's tenure as Essendon coach, Thompson said: "Eventually it will happen, I think."
Hird last week defended his decision to embark on an overseas personal development trip during the Bombers' bye round a fortnight ago.