Striker Ched Evans said farewell to his Chesterfield teammates yesterday as a sensational return to Sheffield United edged nearer to completion.
United have agreed a fee - thought to be in the region of £500,000 - for the 28-year-old striker, who scored 35 goals for them in 2011/12 before being convicted of rape and jailed.
Evans was subsequently cleared of the charge after a high-profile retrial last year, and scored seven goals in 29 games on his return to professional football at the Proact.
Evans, however, hasn’t scored in his last 11 games and has been out injured since March 4, so is unlikely to feature this weekend when, coincidentally, Chris Wilder’s League One champions face the Spireites, who have already been relegated to League Two.
Evans caught the eye when United won 4-1 at the Proact earlier in the season, setting up Chesterfield’s opening goal before going off with an injury.
Wilder was asked before that game about the possibility of re-signing Evans but refused to be drawn, admitting: “We look at a lot of players.
“Sometimes we can get them, and sometimes we can’t. There are a lot of players on our list so I won’t pick one out.
“Any player can join a club at any stage of their career. That’s the workings of football.”
Evans’ conviction arguably cost United automatic promotion back in 2012, when they were pipped to second spot by city rivals Wednesday and went on to lose to Huddersfield, on penalties, in the play-off final at Wembley.
He served half of his five-year sentence in prison before being released on licence.
A campaign to clear Evans’ name saw the case referred to the Court of Appeal in London, who quashed the original conviction and ordered a re-trial, where a jury at Cardiff crown court acquitted the Wales international.