Sunderland have suspended right-back Phil Bardsley after he mocked their defeat to Fulham at the weekend on a social networking site.
The former Manchester United youngster was already a Black Cats outcast. He had been frozen out of the first-team by Paolo Di Canio and not given a squad number for the new season after being pictured lying on a casino floor covered in £50 notes towards the end of the last campaign.
Now the soured relationship has taken a turn for the worse.
Following Sunderland’s 1-0 loss to Fulham, Bardsley wrote on Instagram: “Great opening day. Hahahhahaha hahahhaha!!!”
Di Canio was told about the post yesterday and has suspended the 27-year-old, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph.
The Scotland international has been told to stay away from the training ground while an investigation into the incident is conducted.
He has since deleted his Instagram account but the damage has already been done.
Di Canio was hoping to shift Bardsley off the club’s wage bill as soon as possible. But after the player broke his foot in an under-21 game last week there are unlikely to be any teams willing to buy him or even sign him on loan.