Who is Ched Evans? What we know about reported Sunderland strike target
Sunderland have been linked with a shock move for striker Ched Evans as they step up their bid to find a replacement for Josh Maja.
The Black Cats have previously been linked with moves for Gillingham forward Tom Eaves, and Doncaster Rovers hotshot Jon Marquis, as well as continuing to pursue Wigan Athletic's Will Grigg.
However, reports in Sheffield claim that Evans - on loan at Fleetwood Town from Sheffield United - has emerged as a potential target. Here's what we know about the striker:
What is Ched Evans' playing background?
Evans began his professional career at Manchester City, having spent time in Chester City's youth set-up. Evans made 16 appearances for the Blues, scoring just once in the Premier league, and after a successful loan spell at Norwich City, he moved to Sheffield United in 2009 for £3million.
What happened after that?
Evans was a huge success at Bramall Lane in his first spell, but his career was halted in 2012 when he was sent to prison for five years after being found guilty of rape. He was released in November 2014 but the Welshman continued to protest his innocence and after several legal bids and battles, his conviction was quashed in April 2016 and a retrial ordered. Evans was found not guilty on October 14.
Where did he resume his career?
After his release from prison in November 2014, Evans was linked with a number of clubs, including Sheff United, Hartlepool, Hibernian and Oldham but the moves attracted controversy. Evans signed his first contract since his release from prison and the quashing of his conviction, signing for one year at Chesterfield in League One on June 20, 2016, .
How has his form been since then?
Evans scored five goals in 25 appearances for Chesterfield before linking up again with his old club Sheffield United. However, he failed to register for the Blades in his second spell and was loaned to Fleetwood at the start of the season. He has bagged 12 goals in 27 appearances under Joey Barton, including four in his last five games, as well as picking up six yellow cards and one red.