Local Sport, Point FM Sport — April 25, 2017 at 7:09 am — Updated: April 25, 2017 at 7:11 am

Evans set for Sheffield United return

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Ched Evans is reportedly close to rejoining Sheffield United for next season.

The St Asaph-born striker looks set to return to the League One champions from Chesterfield – the two clubs have reportedly agreed to a £500,000 fee.

Evans was cleared of raping a 19 year-old woman at a Rhuddlan hotel following a retrial last October. He served half of a five year jail sentence, but his conviction was quashed after new evidence was raised in a High Court appeal in April 2016.

Evans joined the Spireites last June and scored seven goals in his first 24 games. His deal was extended by a further year in January, but he made just five first team appearances since Gary Caldwell replaced sacked manager Danny Wilson. Chesterfield were relegated to League Two earlier this month.

The former Wales international joined United in 2009 after signing from Manchester City for £3 million. He scored 13 goals in his first two years at Bramall Lane, but a dramatic upturn in form saw him score 35 goals in the 2011-12 season. He was jailed less than a week after his final game against Leyton Orient.

United offered Evans the use of their training facilities among his release from prison in October 2014, after serving half of his sentence. But the club revoked the offer amid a public outcry – over 170,000 signed an online petition and three patrons resigned, including broadcaster Charlie Webster and Beautiful South singer Paul Heaton.

Olympic sprinter Jessica Ennis-Hill also called for her name to be removed from a stand if Evans was signed, prompting abusive tweets against her.

After an aborted move by Oldham Athletic in January 2015, Evans returned to professional football by signing a one-year deal at Chesterfield – four months before his retrial at Cardiff Crown Court. His arrival led to a Derbyshire firm, HTM Products, pulling out of a sponsorship deal.

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