FOOTBALLER Ched Evans is on the verge of rejoining Sheffield United – the club that released him following his rape conviction five years ago.
The Blades are now attempting to resign the forward from Chesterfield after he was sensationally cleared of the rape charge in October last year, according to reports.
Evans is expected to undergo a medical this week prior to completing his return back to the promoted League One side, says BBC Radio Sheffield.
The former Wales and Manchester City forward fought a five year battle to clear his name after he was jailed in April 2012.
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The 28-year-old had already served half a five-year jail term after he was originally found guilty of raping a drunk teenage waitress at a hotel in Rhyl, North Wales, in 2011.
His girlfriend Natasha Massey, who have has a one-year-old son, stuck by him and her millionaire dad Karl bankrolled a long legal battle to clear his name.
Sheffield United were slammed for allowing the striker train with them a month after being freed from prison.
TV presenter and club patron Charlie Webster quit in protest and Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill ordered her name to be taken off the Bramall Lane stand.
It led to the South Yorkshire club dropping their interest in the forward.
In January 2015 League One side Oldham Athletic were forced to abandon plans to sign the former Manchester City starlet following threats to the club’s staff and families.
Evans was offered a way back into the football and signed a one-year deal worth around £2,000-a-week with Chesterfield.
Last April the Court of Appeal quashed Evan’s conviction and in October the jury at his retrial found him not guilty.
He said outside court he was “overwhelmed with relief” and added: “Thanks go to my friends and family, most notably my fiancee Natasha, who chose, perhaps incredibly, to support me in my darkest hour.”
Chesterfield gave Evans the opportunity to return to football at the beginning of the season and he scored on his debut for the Spireites on his debut against Oxford last August.
In total, he has scored seven times in 29 matches for the club.
Evans bagged 35 goals in just 42 appearances for Sheffield United in the 2011/12 campaign, his last season prior to his spell in jail.
He was rumoured to be making a return to Bramall Lane back in November 2014 as he was allowed to train with the United back.
Olympic hero Jessica Ennis-Hill said she would ask for her name to be removed from a stand in her honour at the club’s ground if he was offered a contract.
In a statement she released at the time, the gold medallist said: “I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example. If Evans was to be re-signed by the club it would completely contradict these beliefs.”
Fans were split on the deal. One wrote: “Why are we risking squad harmony and reputation for a player who’s barely played this season? Strikes me as much more trouble than it’s worth.” Another said: “The lad can play — and remember, he is an innocent man.”