Sunderland suspend Bardsley - report
Phil Bardsley has been suspended by Sunderland after making derogatory comments on social media, according to a report in the Sunderland Echo.
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It is the latest breakdown in relationships between Bardsley and manager Paolo Di Canio, who has told the 27-year-old to stay away from the club's matches and training ground while the club investigates the incident.
On Saturday, Sunderland Under-21 player Scott Harrison posted a picture of the tunnel at the Stadium of Light with the comment "#opening day (heart)", via the popular photo-sharing website Instagram.
After a close-range header from Pajtim Kasami gave visitors Fulham a 1-0 win, Bardsley posted a reply using his personal account (which has been since deleted) on the site which read: "Great opening day. Hahahhahaha hahahhaha!!!"
Sunderland have taken a similar approach to when Titus Bramble was arrested in 2011, with Bardsley being banned from the training ground and matches until an investigation is concluded.
It is unclear as to the length of Bardsley's suspension, who fell out of favour with Di Canio when he was photographed in a casino lying under a pile of £50 notes towards the end of last season.
Interest from both Stoke City and Fulham has yet to materialise into an offer with the defender -- in the final year of his contract on Wearside -- hampering the likelihood of a departure further by breaking his foot in a reserve game.