Jack Diamond reflects on his crucial Harrogate loan as he makes major impression at Sunderland
Jack Diamond says he is hoping to break into the Sunderland first team this season as he prepares to face his former Harrogate Town team-mates.
Sunderland will face Simon Weaver’s side on Saturday in their final pre-season friendly before competitive action begins next week.
Diamond enjoyed a stellar loan campaign there least season, scoring in the play-off final to secure promotion to League Two from the National League.
Harrogate had been keen to take the 20-year-old back ahead of the upcoming campaign, but Phil Parkinson has already ruled that out after some encouraging pre-season performances.
“When I found out we were playing Harrogate a few of their lads were on to me,” Diamond told safc.com.
“I’ve had a few texts about it, and everyone is looking forward to the game.
“It will be nice to see them, but we obviously want to go out there and get the win first and foremost.
“My time there was a huge learning curve and it gave me my first opportunity of playing men’s football.
“I can’t thank the lads and the coaching staff enough for helping me and giving me that opportunity.
“Obviously the goal at Wembley really topped the season off and helped the club get back into the EFL.”
“I didn’t have much time off after the play-off final, but it’s been good just to get straight into it,” he added.
“Now it’s all about getting my head down and working hard to hopefully break into the team this season.”
Diamond has been playing as a wing-back in pre-season thus far and Parkinson believes he is ‘only getting better.”
“With Jack, he had a good season for Harrogate,” he said.
“It was a great progression for his career, they think a lot of him and rang me a lot to take him back.
“But there's no way he is going anywhere.
“He's getting better all the time.
“He's learning that wing-back role but he's an outlet, he's got pace and he can go past people each way.
“There's work to do, it's a step up for him but I think he can bridge that gap.”