Shamed Sheffield United striker Ched Evans was still in talks with Oldham Athletic yesterday over the possibility of signing for the club.
The 26-year-old, who played for United for three years, hopes to resume his career with the League One club following his release from prison mid-way through a five year jail term imposed for raping a 19-year-old woman in a hotel bedroom.
But the club is under mounting pressure to withdraw from talks, with an online petition urging the club against signing Evans now carrying around 49,000 names.
A sponsor has also threatened to sever ties with Oldham if Evans is offered a deal.
Oldham board members held an emergency conference call on Monday to discuss developments.
Speaking afterwards, chief executive Neil Joy said the club would ‘continue to have conversations with representative bodies such as the Professional Footballers’ Association and will conduct due diligence with regard to any decision we make on this matter’.
Sheffield United offered the striker a chance to train with them last November but they retracted the invitation because of a public backlash.
Evans maintains his innocence and his case is being considered by the Criminal Case Review Commission.
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Sport, Clive Efford, called for the FA to intervene and not accept Evans’s registration as a player.