Barnet footballer Mark Marshall has failed a drugs test and has been suspended from playing pending a disciplinary hearing.

Barnet Football Club have announced that one of their key players had tested ‘positive for the use of a prohibited substance’.

Marshall claims to have unwittingly taken the substance in a supplement.

The Times Series, acting on information from sources last week, asked the club on Saturday to confirm the story.

After a formal request to the FA yesterday and further questioning of the club, Barnet finally acknowledged that Marshall had failed a test taken after the Bees' 3-0 Boxing Day defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge, in which Marshall was largely ineffective.

Barnet fans had been wondering why the player had missed the games against Northampton and Crewe Alexandra having been in fine form the previous match against Accrington Stanley.

The 24-year-old had been linked with a move away from Underhill this January with West Ham United, Portsmouth and Leeds United all believed to be interested in the winger and the club released the following statement: "Mark Marshall has been provisionally suspended from football activities pending a disciplinary hearing following the results of a recent drugs test where he tested positive for the use of a prohibited substance.

"He has consequently missed Barnet’s last two League matches In mitigation he claims to have unwittingly taken a banned substance in a supplement.

"Mark Marshall was subject to a routine drug test at the Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet match on December 26 last year.

"Barnet FC hopes that this statement of fact will end speculation about the player on the internet.

"The club and the player will not make any further comment on this matter at this stage."