Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has joined a growing list of past Essendon servants and backed James Hird to be a success if he decides to move into coaching at the top level.

Hird’s long-time coach, Kevin Sheedy, premiership captain Mark Thompson and former Bombers assistant Robert Shaw have all said Hird can succeed as an AFL coach.

There is a groundswell of support for the Brownlow medallist after he declared this week that he had an ambition to one day lead his former club, increasing pressure on current coach Matthew Knights.

Harvey was adamant Hird would make a good AFL coach and said he didn’t necessarily have to serve an apprenticeship as an assistant.   

“He’s got a very good understanding of the game and was always a step ahead of the opposition or in fact his direct opponent,” Harvey said.

“There’s a lot of clarity in what he says and naturally there’s the aura of James and the way he played the game.

“He’s got some special qualities about him that suggest he could coach.”

Harvey said he was not making a judgment on whether Hird should take over at Windy Hill in the short-term, but said a transition from the media into the top job was possible.   

“I think if you’re involved in the media like he is, you’ve still got a really good understanding of what’s going on,” he said. 

“That can always help you, particularly if you’re considering moving into coaching.

“(But) I’m not sure whether he is at this stage.”

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