'He's terrorising opposition defences': The exciting assessment on Sunderland loanee who is impressing at League Two club
Sunderland allowed academy graduate Jack Diamond to return to Harrogate on loan at the start of this season – but how has the 21-year-old been getting on at Wetherby Road?
Diamond helped the Sulphurites win promotion from the National League via the play-offs during his first spell at the club in the 2019/20 campaign.
The winger returned to Sunderland the following season and made 24 appearances in League One, yet there was still a feeling he needed more regular first-team football.
This season, Diamond has made 10 League Two appearances for Harrogate, while chipping in with two goals and one assist in all competitions.
He also claimed another assist as Harrogate beat Wrexham 2-1 in the FA Cup last weekend.
To find out more about how the winger has fared, we caught up with Rhys Howell, sports editor at our sister title The Harrogate Advertiser for the inside track:
How has Diamond fared at Harrogate since returning to Harrogate?
RH: “Overall he has done pretty well, scoring twice and contributing two assists.
"He picked up where he left off following his previous loan spell at Harrogate, terrorising opposition defences with his direct running style.
"He hasn't been as effective in recent weeks due to opponents doubling-up on him every time he gets the ball, however he was very impressive during Harrogate's EFL Trophy defeat to League One Sheffield Wednesday.
"He was weaving past Owls players as if they weren't there at times and really caught the eye out on the left wing.
"The only major negative has been a needless sending off for two first-half bookings in a 2-0 away loss at Port Vale.”
What have fans made of his performances and how is he viewed there?
RH: “Harrogate's supporters love Jack Diamond. They were absolutely thrilled to have him back for a second spell having been hoping he would return at the start of last season.”
What have been his main strengths and areas where he can improve?
RH: “His clever footwork, fast feet and the way he drives at and past defenders are his main strengths. He backs himself, never hides and is always trying to make things happen.
"Even in the games where Town haven't played at all well, Diamond has usually stood out - in patches at least.
"He has improved in terms of getting his head up and looking to deliver a pass or a cross once he gets into a dangerous area, though in terms of his end product, there is still some work to do.
"He is still also often prone to attempting to play himself out of trouble deep inside his own half, a habit that probably needs addressing.”
How long do you think Harrogate will be able to keep him?
RH: “He is on loan at Wetherby Road until the end of 2021/22.
"Town's management and fans would doubtless love to be able to make that deal permanent, however after a full season playing regular senior football, he will surely be ready for another crack at League One next term.”