North Melbourne won't rush Clarkson's AFL return ahead of bye

With the Kangaroos approaching their mid-season bye, North Melbourne are standing firm on giving Alastair Clarkson as much time away from the club as he needs.

Brett Ratten remains caretaker coach after Clarkson stepped away from Arden St indefinitely last month due to the mental toll of the ongoing Hawthorn racism saga.

The former Carlton and St Kilda coach has led North in their last three matches, twice coming agonisingly close to ending a losing streak that now stretches to 10 games.

The Kangaroos face GWS and the Western Bulldogs over the next two weeks before having their bye in round 15.

The AFL last week disbanded the independent panel set up to investigate allegations of historical racism at the Hawks, with no adverse findings made against then-head coach Clarkson, Chris Fagan or the club's welfare manager at the time Jason Burt.

All three have strenuously denied any wrongdoing in connection with the claims, which surfaced last September.

A break in North's schedule could offer good timing for Ratten to hand back the reins to Clarkson if the four-time Hawthorn premiership coach felt ready.

But Ratten reaffirmed no one at the Kangaroos was putting Clarkson under pressure to return.

"There's no timeline here," Ratten said.

"First and foremost, to make sure that he's right and ready to step in and do what he does so well.

"From that point of view, let him take as long as he wants. Is it two weeks? Is it four weeks? Is it six weeks? Is it post-season? I don't know."

Ratten highlighted numerous examples of fallout from the demands of coaching, including Damien Hardwick quitting Richmond last month after almost 14 seasons in charge.

"What I do know is give (Clarkson) the time, give him the space to get back and be fresh and ready to go, because as we found out through Dimma (Hardwick) and others, it is a challenging job.

"Make sure that you're right to go and perform at the level that you want to, to take on all the pressures as well."

North have significantly improved their on-field output in Clarkson's absence, but Ratten was taking no credit for the better effort.

"What we've seen is some of the work we've done when Al was here actually starting to transfer over," Ratten said on Wednesday.

"Sometimes you work on things and they take a week, they take a month, sometimes they take a year.

"If Al was here, this would be the same. We're getting the benefits of it now."

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