Ched Evans signs for Chesterfield ahead of rape trial

The former Sheffield United player will make a return to professional football in League One.

Ched Evans, Sheffield United,

Sheffield United's Ched Evans in 2011. Anna Gowthorpe / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Footballer Ched Evans, who is due to go on trial for rape in October, has signed a one-year contract with Chesterfield.

The 27-year-old, who previously played for Sheffield United before he was released by the club, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In a statement, the League One club said: "Chesterfield Football Club are delighted to announce that Wales international striker Ched Evans [...] will be joining the club on July 1.

"Evans, who is currently a free agent, will join up with manager Danny Wilson and the first-team squad for pre-season training in preparation for the 2016/17 campaign. The initial 12-month deal includes an option for a further year."

Speaking about the deal, chairman of the club Dave Allen said "We are delighted to have secured the services of an outstanding footballer, who is now keen to get back to work and score goals.

"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."

Ched Evans also commented on the move which will see him back on a football pitch after a number of rumoured returns fell through, saying "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."

The club said it would not be making any further comment on the signing.