Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna says the Suns are no longer pursuing Simon Black to fill the AFL club's vacant assistant coach's role.

The triple premiership player has been offered a three-year deal to join the coaching staff at Brisbane and McKenna told reporters on Friday that appears to be the recently retired star's likely destination.

While the Suns didn't even get the chance to discuss their vacancy with Black, McKenna wasn't concerned, revealing the club has spoken to several candidates to fill the development role left open after the departure of Ben Mathews to Richmond.

"He made his mind up. Fine, we all do that," McKenna said of Black.

"I think we've been able to interview seven or eight candidates now that are, all of them, are very handy.

"Some players may announce retirements after the trade period's over too. We'll sit down over the weekend, make some decisions and certainly make an announcement next week."

Ahead of pre-season McKenna admitted it's going to be tough to continue his team's improvement over the past 12 months, given they won eight matches in 2013, more than double their tally the year before.

He says maintaining such a rate of progression will be tough, but it's what his team has to aim for if they are realistic about making a finals bid next year.

"Understand that that 50 per cent gain is just not going to happen. We have to go out and work, and work harder for it," he said.

"We finish nine and win 15 games, is it a pass mark? I would have thought so.

"To get in the eight, someone's got to fall out. We have to jump over sides. Just understand how hard and tough it's going to be. That's certainly our aspiration."

Young ruckman Zac Smith will join his teammates for pre-season as he continues his recuperation from a serious knee injury.

Despite the 23-year-old resuming running, he's unlikely to be fit for round one next year and remains on a wait-and-see basis with his injury.

 

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