Jose Baxter is poised to discover his fate after failing a drugs test earlier this year.
The Sheffield United midfielder has not featured since traces of a prohibited substance, thought to be cocaine, were detected in his system three months ago. The Star understands that no talks aimed at extending the player’s contract, which expires at the end of the season, are scheduled at present.
Bramall Lane’s hierarchy, including manager Nigel Adkins, have steadfastly refused to comment on Baxter’s future in South Yorkshire after announcing he had been suspended, pending the outcome of a Football Association investigation, following a League One fixture at Bury on February 16.
Although the 24-year-old is believed to have protested his innocence of any deliberate wrong-doing, the principle of strict liability means he could be ruled-out for up to two years following a similar breach before last season’s League One play-off semi-finals.
Baxter missed the double-header against Swindon Town, which United lost 7-6 on aggregate, after being found to have taken ecstasy. On that occasion he received a five month ban, three of which were suspended, after claiming his drink had been spiked during a night out in London with friends.
United are expected to clarify their position regarding Baxter when the FA publishes its findings shortly. Previously of Everton, he commanded a reported £500,000 transfer fee after arriving from Oldham Athletic in 2013. Although club officials were known to be furious when informed of Baxter’s test result soon after the meeting with David Flitcroft’s side, they were advised against taking a decision on his employment status until the governing body completed its own disciplinary process.