Manager Nigel Clough insists Sheffield United did not rush into their decision to allow convicted rapist Ched Evans to train with the club.
The Blades announced on Tuesday evening that the 25-year-old would train at his old club after a request from the Professional Footballers’ Association to allow him the opportunity to rebuild his fitness.
Clough, who takes his team to Walsall in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Wednesday night, said on Sky Sports News: “I think everything has been deliberated properly, nobody has rushed into any decisions at the club.
“Everybody realises the gravity of the situation and seriousness of everything and that’s why it has taken so long to even get to this stage. It has been prompted by the PFA and that’s as far as it goes now.
“We deliberated as a club for some weeks and came to this decision. According to the law of the land he is entitled an opportunity to resume his career.”
United’s statement made it clear the club were “not prepared at this time” to make a decision on whether to re-sign Evans as a player.
And on whether allowing Evans to train at the club would lead to a potential deal at Bramall Lane, Clough added: “That’s a long way from being true. The statement said that he is purely down to train with us and we will take it from there.”
In a further interview with BBC Radio Sheffield, Clough said there is no timescale on when a decision will be made on whether to offer Evans a deal and doing so is not at the top of his things to do.
“It’s nowhere near being decided as it said in the statement,” he added.
“It goes in stages. How you can sign a player who hasn’t played for two years and seven months? I don’t think anyone is in a position to do that. We don’t have a timescale on it, believe it or not it’s not at the top of our priorities.
“We have four games in 10 days, two in the cup and two in the league, which will determine whether we are going to stay in those competitions and get back into the top six.
“That is our priority. Not a player who is training with us at the moment. I have no idea on the plan for him. The statement was just released yesterday, the next stage is sorting out some sort of training programme.”
Clough admitted that he was consulted in the decision but refused to comment on whether he is in personal agreement with his club’s decision, which has received widespread backlash and condemnation.
“Everything the club want to say at this time is contained within the statement,” he said.
“It said at the bottom that the club won’t be commenting any further and I will adhere to that. All the staff at the club have been consulted, as an employee, I have been consulted like everybody else.”