Bombers stick with Hird after board meeting

ESSENDON has paved the way for 2014 interim coach Mark Thompson to take over the top job at the Gold Coast next season after confirming James Hird would return to the Bombers as head coach.

Speculation had been rife the Essendon board was set to sack Hird in response to his decision to pursue a Federal Court appeal after he lost his court action against the legality of the ASADA investigation into the club's 2012 supplements program.

The club released a statement yesterday, saying no decision would be made on Hird's future until his appeal was heard and the ASADA investigation resolved.

"The Board believes it would be potentially reckless to make any decisions of significance until there is further clarity on these crucial matters," it read.

The delay will inevitably lead to the Suns stepping up their efforts to secure Thompson who is presently on an end-of-season break in Mexico and the US.