The Football Association’s hearing into the circumstances surrounding Jose Baxter’s failed drugs test is scheduled to take place next week, writes James Shield.
The Star understands that Baxter, who vehemently denies any deliberate wrongdoing, will meet the governing body at its Wembley Stadium HQ on July 10.
The midfielder was temporarily suspended by Sheffield United when a prohibited substance, believed to be MDMA, was discovered in his system during an out-of-competition procedure before May’s play-off semi-finals against Swindon Town.
Baxter has yet to comment on the matter publicly but is thought to claim a drink he consumed was spiked.
The 23-year-old faces a maximum ban of six months should the FA refuse to accept his explanation.
However, he could also be reprimanded if officials are convinced that he unknowingly ingested the drug.
Baxter has made 93 appearances for United since leaving Oldham Athletic two years ago.
Previously of Everton, the former England youth international scored 13 goals in 37 starts last term.
United’s preparations for the new League One campaign yesterday gathered pace when Nigel Adkins’ senior squad arrived at a spa facility in the Midlands following a series of routine fitness tests.
Adkins, who took charge a month ago, has vowed every member of the team he inherited from Nigel Clough will be granted the opportunity to cement places in his starting eleven.
Lee Turnbull, United’s new head of recruitment, acknowledged: “The target is promotion. Nigel has already spoken about his desire to achieve that as quickly as possible and having worked with this group of staff before then hopefully we can be successful together again at Sheffield United.”
Turnbull, who also doubles as chief scout, added: “We have remained good friends and that was a decisive factor in me coming here.”