Jack Diamond interview: His Harrogate loan spell, being recalled for Wycombe clash and Sunderland goals
While results had been inconsistent and an early play-off push had started to fade, Jack Diamond’s start to the season at League Two side Harrogate Town had been encouraging.
The 22-year-old winger re-joined the Sulphurites on loan from Sunderland in August, with the hope he’d make at least 25 starts and gain regular first-team football.
By the middle of December, Diamond had re-established himself as a first-team regular at Wetherby Road - where he helped Harrogate win promotion from the National League two years ago. In 17 League Two starts the winger had scored five times and provided three assists, yet a 1-0 defeat at Sutton on December 18 was his last appearance at that level for over a month.
Harrogate’s next three league games were postponed due to Covid-19 cases, while a small outbreak of the virus at Sunderland meant Diamond was temporarily recalled to Wearside ahead of a League One fixture at Wycombe.
The winger came off the bench during the 3-3 draw at Adams Park, before starting against Lincoln at the Stadium of Light a few days later.
"It was just basically the week of the game,” Diamond tells the Echo when asked about the experience.
"On that week I just got told I was being recalled for a short spell and it just happened really quick.
"I started the Lincoln game a few days after and it wasn’t too bad.
“It was just a weird one coming back for a short time and then playing, it was a hard one to wrap my head around.
"Obviously I was buzzing to come back and it wasn’t just me coming back for no reason, I got the opportunity to play so it was good in that sense.
The plan was always for Diamond to return to Harrogate in January, and the winger went back out on loan just a few days before Sunderland’s 6-0 defeat at Bolton.
That result meant the Black Cats parted company with Lee Johnson, the club’s former head coach who was keen for younger players to go out on loan and gain experience.
While Diamond hasn’t had a direct conversation with new Sunderland boss Alex Neil, the winger says he’s still in regular contract with people on Wearside who are monitoring his progress.
"I’m in contact with people there quite a lot, they come and watch my games sometimes and just keep checking up,” he adds.
"I go back and train with Sunderland sometimes when there are no midweek games for both teams."
While Harrogate have dropped to 16th in League Two, Diamond has picked up where he left off since returning to North Yorkshire and now has nine League Two goals and six assists this campaign.
"I think just to play has been the most important thing, you need to play to get your confidence,” he adds.
"The season has been up and down in terms of results and where we have found ourselves but overall the performances have been good.
"Personally I think I have hit some good goals and think it’s been quite successful in that part.
“Next season it’s just about trying to push myself again and trying to get the consistency from this season and taking that back to Sunderland.”
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