Sheffield United: Baxter set to discover drugs test fate

Jose Baxter has been suspended by Sheffield United
Jose Baxter has been suspended by Sheffield United

Jose Baxter’s future at Sheffield United is set to become clearer later this week with the midfielder, who was suspended by the League One club after testing positive for a prohibited recreational substance last month, expected to discover the result of his ‘B’ sample within 24 hours.

Although United and the player himself have refused to elaborate on the matter, which became public following February 16th’s fixture at Bury, The Star understands they are poised to receive further guidance from the Football Association shortly.

Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

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If the outcome of the initial test is upheld then Baxter could potentially be sacked by Nigel Adkins’ side although his contract expires at the end of the campaign.

Baxter in action for Sheffield United this season 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Baxter in action for Sheffield United this season �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

The midfielder, whose former club Oldham Athletic visit South Yorkshire this weekend, was banned when traces of ecstasy were discovered in his system before last season’s play-off semi-final against Swindon Town although, on this occasion, cocaine is believed to be the source of the breach.

Baxter told an FA hearing in July his drink had been spiked during a night out in London with friends and is thought to again be protesting that he is not-guilty of any deliberate wrongdoing.

Adkins, the United manager, referred journalists to “the statement” released by his employers when questioned on Baxter’s situation before Saturday’s draw with Fleetwood Town.

Published on February 19, that read: “Sheffield United Football Club can confirm that Jose Baxter has been suspended. Procedures are being followed and no further comment will be made until the completion of these actions.”

Privately, however, Bramall Lane’s hierarchy have been informed testing on the 24-year-old’s ‘B’ sample should be completed by the end of the week at the latest.

United, meanwhile, are continuing to hold talks with possible targets in the emergency loan market after Adkins placed a winger at the top of his wanted list. Alex Baptiste arrived on a temporary basis from Middlesbrough last week.