Hull City midfielder Jake Livermore was in "a dark place" when he tested positive for cocaine after the death of his newborn child in May 2014, Tigers boss Steve Bruce has said.
England international Livermore, 25, will find out his punishment at a hearing at the end of the month.
The Football Association could ban the player for two years.
"Unfortunately he lost his baby just after the FA Cup final 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 joined Hull from Spurs in August 2014 after a successful season-long loan with the club.
He made 35 league appearances last season as the Tigers were relegated to the Championship.
Bruce added: "I think he expects to be punished and that's only too right, but then we have to look at the bigger picture and try and help the lad if we possibly can.
"People think because they are professional footballers they've got the world; they have problems just like everybody else does. Unfortunately with Jake he's had problems and possibly didn't seek the help that he needed at the time."