Hull City manager Steve Bruce says midfielder Jake Livermore was 'in a dark place' when he tested positive for cocaine following the death of his newborn child in May last year.
The 25-year-old former England international could face a ban of up to two years when the Football Association announce the verdict of their investigation at a hearing at the end of the month.
Bruce says there is 'no question' that Livermore's family tragedy was a mitigating factor while he also revealed the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has sought help in dealing with the current situation.
"Unfortunately he lost his baby just after the FA Cup final [which Hull lost 3-2 to Arsenal] last year," Bruce told BBC Radio Humberside.
"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, long time. There's no question it was a mitigating factor.
"He has been seeking help and been seeing some good people so we hope there will be a positive outcome at the end of the month."
Livermore was ever-present for the Tigers last season, making 35 league appearances, as Bruce's men were relegated to the Championship on the final day.Reuse content