Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has reminded unhappy supporters that key forward Travis Cloke is 'one of us'.
The Magpies this week put contract talks with Cloke on hold until the end of the season, prompting an angry response from disgruntled fans who believe the ongoing saga is cause for distraction.
But Buckley moved swiftly to distance himself from the critics ahead of Saturday's clash against Greater Western Sydney at Skoda Stadium.
"He's one of our players who is absolutely focused on playing our best football and giving ourselves the best chance of success in 2012," Buckley said.
"He's one of us and all of us are focused on that. If you're not supporting us in that end then you're not one of us."
Cloke has averaged just 10 disposals, 3.5 marks and booted six goals in four games since appearing on ''The Footy Show'' in June, when he revealed Fremantle had tabled a multi-million dollar offer over five years.
Giants coach Kevin Sheedy this week also declared his interest, saying the 2010 premiership player would have a similar impact to former Swans Tony Lockett and Barry Hall in Sydney.
"Sheeds can worry about next year - we'll just worry about the game tomorrow," Buckley said.
"There's plenty we can't control in this situation.
"Our responsibility in the management and coaching of this football club is to give us the best chance of success in 2012. Every decision we undertake is about that.
"That's why we decided to postpone and suspend the negotiations with Trav.
"There's been plenty speculated on, even in the last couple of days, and we can't answer all of those questions.
"You would love to defend positions and right wrongs from perspectives that hit the back page. But we're not going to be able to do that."
Buckley said there was no added pressure on Cloke and fellow forward Chris Dawes after the pair combined for just five marks and two goals in last week's loss to Hawthorn.
"We just need to worry about playing our best football after last week's performance," Buckley said."It's really irrelevant who we come up against because we've got a bit to prove to ourselves."