Ched Evans
Ched Evans is being allowed to train with Sheffield UnitedGetty

Sheffield United will allow convicted rapist Ched Evans, the former Wales international, to train with them.

Evans, 25, was released from prison last month after serving half of a five-year sentence for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room in 2011.

Former club Sheffield United have now handed Evans the chance to make a return to professional football by notifying authorities of their intention to allow him back at their training ground, reports the BBC.

News of the player's potential return for the League One club prompted an outcry and a petition demanding the club do not re-sign him attracted 157,000 signatures.

Although the club is yet to hand the player a new contract, allowing him to train will be seen as the first step on the road back to playing for the Blades.

Evans admitted to having sex with his victim but denied rape at his trial at Caernarfon Crown Court. He was however found guilty by a jury and is fighting to clear his name.

In a video released on YouTube, Evans apologised to his girlfriend Natasha Massey for his infidelity and vowed to clear his name.

"Since that night I have constantly regretted my act of infidelity and the damage that has been done on so many fronts because of it," he said.

"Even though I have been released from prison I am determined to continue the fight to clear my name and it is public knowledge that an application to refer my case back to the Court of Appeal has recently been submitted to the Criminal Case Review Commission by my lawyers."

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough had said any decision to recall Evans would be left to the club's owners.

"We have had one or two discussions, we are awaiting a decision and the owners will make that in good time," Clough said.

"I have been involved in decisions but it is very much a decision for the owners and when the time is right to say something as a club we will do that. It is that sort of decision – it's above football level."