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Sheffield United's Capital One Cup semi-final dates confirmed

Both legs of United’s Capital One Cup semi-final with Tottenham Hotspur will be played on Wednesday evenings in January.

Michael Doyle celebrates after winning the Capital One Cup Quarter Final match at Bramall Lane Credit: Press Association

The first-leg, which will be played at White Hart Lane, will take place on Wednesday 21st January, kick-off 7.45pm.

The second-leg at Bramall Lane, will be played a week later on Wednesday 28th January, kick-off again 7.45pm.

United progressed to the semi-finals with victories over Mansfield Town, West Ham United, Leyton Orient, MK Dons and Southampton, whilst Chelsea play Liverpool in the other last four tie.

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Sheffield United to face Southampton

Sheffield United are looking to enhance their reputation as giant killers tonight when they take on Premier League Southampton at Bramall Lane in the quarter final of the Capital One Cup.

The Blades, remember, knocked out two Premier league sides before being beaten by Hull City in the FA Cup semi final at Wembley back in April. And their fans are already dreaming of another trip to the national stadium. David Hirst reports.

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Golden girl Jess has " no regrets" over speaking out about shamed soccer star Evans

Jessica Ennis-Hill says she has no regrets about speaking out in the row over convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Last month Jess said she'd ask Sheffield United to remove her name from one of the stands at Bramall Lane - if they didn't retract their offer to let him train with the club following his release from prison.

In a wide-ranging interview for ITV News, the Olympic heptathlon champion also talked about motherhood, and her preparation for the Rio Olympics.

Evans case 'prioritised' by Criminal Cases Review Commission

An appeal made by convicted rapist Ched Evans is to be prioritised by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Evans case 'prioritised' by Criminal Cases Review Commission Credit: Press Association

The body said an investigation into the case would begin in a few weeks, but insisted its being fast-tracked was not due to the former footballer being "relatively famous, because he plays football for a living, or for any reason external to the specific facts of the case".

In a statement the Criminal Cases Review Commission said:

We recently received a request to prioritise Mr Evans' case. We considered that request in line with our published policy on prioritisation, and in relation to the facts of the case and the issues raised in Mr Evans' application to us. We have agreed to prioritise the case and now expect our substantive investigation to begin within the next few weeks.

The decision to prioritise the case does not in any way represent a judgment by the Commission as to the merits of the application to us in this case or its chances of being referred for appeal.

The case has not been prioritised because Mr Evans is relatively famous, because he plays football for a living, or for any reason external to the specific facts of the case.

Prioritisation like this is not typical but it is by no means unprecedented. We prioritise applications where there is need and where it accords with our policy to do so; we expect to prioritise perhaps one or two such cases each month.

– Criminal Cases Review Commission

Evans, who has always maintained his innocence, was released from jail in October half way through his five year sentence for the rape of a 19-year-old woman.

If they find in his favour, they could recommend that the case be referred again to the Court of Appeal

Tranmere chairman claims to have rejected approach for Ched Evans talks

Tranmere chairman Mark Palios claims to have turned down an approach from associates of Ched Evans' about the possibility of the convicted rapist playing for the club.

Tranmere chairman claims to have rejected approach for Ched Evans talks Credit: Press Association

Palios said he had twice been contacted by people on behalf of Evans about possible talks but refused to pursue the idea.

Evans, 25, wants to return to football after being released from prison last month. He served two and a half years of a five-year sentence after being found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in 2011.

Evans continues to protest his innocence and has lodged an appeal with the Criminal Case Review Commission.

He was initially given permission by former club Sheffield United to return to train with the club at the request of players' union, the Professional Footballers Association.

But following a backlash from Blades supporters, sponsors and patrons opposed to Evans' return - 160,000 people signed a petition against it - the club retracted its offer last week.

Palios, former chief executive of the Football Association, and wife Nicola took control at Tranmere in August.

He said in a statement released to the Liverpool Echo:

Tranmere has not been approached by Ched Evans or his management team to discuss him joining the club. However, on two occasions persons with a connection with Ched Evans offered to facilitate a discussion if I wished to pursue that. I strongly believe in the general principle that people have a right to rehabilitation after serving a sentence for a crime. However, I also take the view that whether any particular club would wish to employ someone who has been convicted of a very serious crime is a subjective decision for the club to take after considering all the circumstances, and that there is no simple right or wrong answer. Nicola and I are trying to re-establish the brand of Tranmere as a family-friendly club and bringing Ched Evans in would clearly have alienated a significant number of supporters. It would also have inevitably embroiled the club in much controversy and distraction, at a time when we need to keep a complete focus on rebuilding the club and setting firm foundations for the future. I therefore took the view that it would not be in the best interests of the club to seek a dialogue with Mr Evans, notwithstanding his undoubted footballing talents. Neither I nor the club will be making any further comment on this matter."

– Mark Palios, Tranmere chairman

Tranmere allowed Clayton McDonald, who was acquitted of rape when tried alongside Evans, to join the club on non-contract terms earlier in the season, but he was released after just one appearance.

Sheffield United fans at first home game since Ched Evans controversy

Sheffield United fans have been at a home game for the first time since the Ched Evans controversy.

A number of supporters this afternoon called for the club to now move on.

Yesterday Friday November 21, 2014, Blades bosses reacted angrily after being forced into a u-turn following the public outcry.

Kate Hemingway reports.

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