Sheffield United will not sack Jose Baxter even if he receives the maximum six month ban following a positive drugs test last season, writes James Shield.
As The Star revealed a fortnight ago, the former Everton and Oldham Athletic midfielder is scheduled to learn his fate at the Football Association’s Wembley headquarters later today.
Baxter was temporarily suspended by United when traces of a prohibited substance, thought to be MDMA, were discovered in his system during an out-of-competition procedure ahead of May’s play-off semi-final defeat by Swindon Town.
This newspaper understands that Baxter, who will be supported by new manager Nigel Adkins when the hearing convenes, was reassured his contract would not be torn-up soon after the initially test result was announced.
Instead, United officials have privately briefed they posses a “duty of care” towards an employee who has steadfastly maintained his innocence throughout the process.
The Professional Footballers’ Association is also expected to show its solidarity by dispatching a representative to the national stadium.
Baxter, who could escape with a severe reprimand, is thought to have told United his drink must have been spiked during a night out with friends.