The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jack Miller

STEVE BRUCE be­lieves the death of Jake Liver­more’s child last year con­trib­uted to the midfielder test­ing pos­i­tive for co­caine.

Later this month the for­mer Tot­ten­ham star will learn the length of his ban at a Football As­so­ci­a­tion hear­ing, with the max­i­mum penalty for the of­fence a two-year ban.

And while Bruce ac­cepts Liver­more, 25, has to be pun­ished for his in­dis­cre­tion, he has lifted the lid on the har­row­ing cir­cum­stances his midfielder had to cope with.

“Un­for­tu­nately he lost his baby just af­ter the FA Cup fi­nal last year,” he said.

“Jake has kept all of the prob­lems that he had to him­self. All foot­ballers think they are macho-men, but they have prob­lems like ev­ery­body else.

“He has got to serve his pun­ish­ment be­cause he has done wrong and there is no dis­put­ing that, but there are ob­vi­ously some cir­cum­stances that make you see he has been in a dark place for a long time.There’s no ques­tion it was a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor.

“He has been seek­ing help so we hope there will be a pos­i­tive out­come at the end of the month.”

PAIN: Jake Liver­more

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