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Evans joins Simons at Chesterfield

Rai Simons will have some fresh competition for a starting place in the Chesterfield team after the Sky Bet League One club signed Ched Evans yesterday.

Evans, who faces a retrial over rape allegations in October, has joined the team on a one-year deal.

The former Wales striker, who started his career at Manchester City, was jailed in 2012 for raping a 19-year-old woman, but had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal in April.

The 27-year-old, who has always denied the charges against him, was released from jail in October 2014 after serving half of a five-year sentence.

His last professional game was in 2012, after he scored 35 goals in 42 appearances for Sheffield United.

“We are delighted to have secured the services of an outstanding footballer, who is now keen to get back to work and score goals,” Dave Allen, the Chesterfield chairman, said.

“Danny Wilson [the manager] 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, came close to joining Oldham Athletic in January last year, before the club pulled out of the deal after threats to their staff and pressure from sponsors.

He was also forced to cancel plans to train at Sheffield United's training facilities in November 2014 after more than 170,000 signed a petition against the move.

“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,” Evans said.

Evans's conviction was referred to the Court of Appeal following a ten-month investigation by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which found new information not raised at his original trial.

“In this case we have identified new material which was not considered by the jury at trial and which in our view might have assisted the defence,” Richard Foster, the CCRC chairman, said at the time.

“In those circumstances, it is right and proper for the matter to be before the court so that they can decide whether or not the new information should affect the verdict.”

A panel of three judges then decided at a two-day hearing to allow the retrial, having heard “fresh evidence” from Evans's lawyers.

“In summary, we have concluded that we must allow the appeal and that it is in the interests of justice to order a retrial,” Lady Justice Hallett said.

Second chance: Evans, left, will face a retrial over a rape allegation in October (Photograph by Chris Radburn/PA/AP)

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Published June 21, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 21, 2016 at 8:43 am)

Evans joins Simons at Chesterfield

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