Former Sheffield United football Ched Evans is set to sign for League One side Chesterfield as he awaits the outcome of his rape retrial in October. The 27-year-old will sign a one-year contract for Chesterfield three months after having his rape conviction quashed.
Evans served two and a half years of a five-year sentence after being found guilty of raping a woman at a hotel near Rhyl, north Wales, in May 2011. He is due to stand in a retrial for the rape allegation in October after winning an appeal against his conviction, following new information emerging that had not been raised at the original trial.
Chesterfield chairman Dave Allen said the club are "delighted to have secured the services of an outstanding footballer, who is now keen to get back to work and score goals".
He added: "Danny Wilson knows Ched very well, having previously managed him at Sheffield United. Chris Morgan, our first team coach, also speaks highly of him from their time together at Bramall Lane. Chesterfield Football Club have given a great deal of thought to this signing and following the court's decision, we are in no doubt that Ched Evans should be welcomed back into his profession as a professional footballer."
Evans said: "I am very excited and privileged to be resuming my career at Chesterfield and I hope to make a valuable contribution both on and off the pitch for the football club, the fans and the community. "
Sheffield United were heavily criticised for allowing Evans to train at the club following his release form prison in a bid to regain his fitness, with an eye to eventually signing for a new club.
The decision resulted in several high profile names, including former Housemartins and Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton and 60s pop star Dave Berry, quitting their roles as patrons of the club in protest. Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill also said she would force the removal of her name from the stand named after her at the club's ground, Bramall Lane, if Evans was offered a new contract.
Evans, who has always maintained his innocence, has not played professional football since his release from prison in October 2014.