Alan Biggs at Large: After Jake Livermore and Jose Baxter tested positive, maybe regular drug screenings will help clean up the game?

Sheffield United's Jose Baxter
Sheffield United's Jose Baxter

Most of us - and especially those over a certain age, including Steve Bruce, and dare I say, Nigel Clough - can have no comprehension of what it’s like to be a young footballer in 2015.

Which is not to condone failed drug tests or to pronounce guilt or innocence in the different cases of Jake Livermore and Jose Baxter.

Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA

Photo: Lynne Cameron/PA

Hull boss Bruce, 54, was a bemused and angry bystander after Livermore, his £8m midfielder, tested positive for cocaine.

Perhaps Sheffield United’s Clough went through a similar range of emotions over Baxter, who is also suspended by his club - albeit in less severe and apparently more contentious circumstances.

Yet Bruce did shine some sort of light through the fog of our befuddlement when he suggested that random testing, which is as hit and miss as it sounds, should be replaced by some sort of regular in-house check.

Maybe on a weekly basis, ventured the one-time Blades manager.

It follows that this would be a test on every professional footballer every week, which would be time-consuming and expensive.

But perhaps it is worth the FA footing such a bill as the only sure-fire way to clean-up the game and show it to be clean.

Baxter, meanwhile, has protested innocence and is being backed by his club.

His test, which showed traces of a recreational drug, was not conducted either before or after a match, unlike Livermore’s, and his ban, if guilty, would be confined to a maximum of six months.

However, as well as clearing names or otherwise, we need to clear confusion on this whole issue.