Hartlepool not interested in signing Evans

League Two strugglers Hartlepool United insist they will not sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.

New United manager Ronnie Moore said after Saturday's 1-1 draw against Oxford United - his first match in charge - "if it could happen I would want it to happen", regarding the possibility of bringing the 25-year-old to the club.

This led to reports that former Sheffield United striker Evans, who was released from prison in October after serving half of his five-year sentence, would be heading to Victoria Park.

However, the Football League's bottom club released a statement on Sunday saying that the "story has emerged following an usubstantiated internet rumour which the manager was asked to comment upon".

It added: "Hartlepool United do not intend signing Ched Evans and, for the avoidance of doubt, will not be doing so, irrespective of his obvious ability as a football player.

"The club can fully understand the concerns of supporters and the general public and regrets any misconception portrayed.

"After a highly positive week at Hartlepool United following the takeover by new owners and the appointment of a new manager, the owners are saddened by this unfortunate turn of events and wish to draw a line under it immediately."

Evans' former club Sheffield United had previously allowed the striker to train with them at the request of the Professional Footballers' Association, but following widespread criticism they ended that agreement.

A number of sponsors and club patrons terminated their relationship with the League One outfit, while Olympic hepathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill requested that her name be removed from a stand named in her honour at Bramall Lane if Evans were to return.