Column: Absence hasn't dulled Evans' instinct and a bumper payday might be in store for Chesterfield
More than four years away from the game has failed to dull Ched Evans' goalscoring instinct.
The striker has looked sharp in pre-season, heading home goals against non-league Ilkeston and a Leicester City XI.
On the admittedly limited evidence, Evans looks lean, fit and hungry, happy to chase down defenders or harry goalkeepers, coming deep in search of the ball.
It’s in the final third that Chesterfield will want Evans to do most of his work.
And in and around the opposition penalty area Evans has shown little signs of rust or unfamiliarity.
He’s given his markers a rough ride, unsettling defenders, proving nigh on impossible to shift from the ball and difficult to track.
His goal at Ilkeston was a two-yard header and against the young Foxes he powered the ball home from within the six-yard area.
It’s abundantly clear that, should Chesterfield provide quality service, Evans will help himself to a hat-full of goals.
Already, a promising partnership has formed between trickster Jay O’Shea and the Welsh international.
Chesterfield have players like Gboly Ariyibi and Reece Mitchell who will be tasked with getting to the byline and delivering crosses to the front man.
On Tuesday night at the Proact he was a lick of paint away from a wonder goal, his 30-yard dipping drive clipping the bar and only further enhancing belief in north Derbyshire that Danny Wilson has pulled off the League One signing of the summer.
A former Spireite sitting in the stands insisted that were he a Championship club, he’d bid £3million for Evans right now.
There are reasons, of course, why that won’t happen just yet.
Evans has a retrial for a rape allegation looming large on the horizon, his October court date has the potential to define the rest of his life, never mind the 2016/17 season.
But speaking on pure footballing terms, should Evans hit the ground running at the Proact, you wouldn’t put money on him seeing out the season as a Spireite.
Not only will he be League One’s most talked about player, Evans will be the most watched, with clubs higher up the food chain undoubtedly looking on with interest.
Chesterfield might have taken a gamble with this signing, but the payoff might not just come in the form of goals, there could be a bumper payday in the near future.