Lincoln's view on Jack Diamond and the chances of a permanent transfer from Sunderland
Sunderland allowed academy graduate Jack Diamond to join League One side Lincoln on loan in the summer – but how has the 22-year-old fared at the LNER Stadium?
To find out more we caught up with Alfie Burley from Lincolnshire Live to check up on Diamond’s progress this season.
How has Diamond fared at Lincoln so far?
AB: “Diamond has fared very well in his time at Lincoln.
"He has proven himself to be a difference maker on the pitch, showcasing a great ability to carry the ball and drive at opponents.
“This directness in attack has greatly benefited the Imps, who have often reaped the rewards of his pieces of individual quality.
"At times Diamond is guilty of making the wrong decision in the final third, which is something manager Mark Kennedy has mentioned before, but his quality on the ball is undoubtable.”
What position has he been playing?
AB: “Diamond has been playing on the left of an attacking trident and this has suited him well, as it has given the forward the ability to cut inside and drive at defenders.
" Lincoln have been playing a 5-2-3 formation with their wing-backs pushed up to help with the attack. This change in system has coincided with a difficult run of fixtures for the Imps, and Diamond has definitely been limited in his opportunities to highlight his ability, with Lincoln ceding possession in games against Bolton, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Ipswich and Plymouth.
“Diamond has still had moments in those games, and played a key role in helping the team claim some massive results - one being the 1-0 victory against Barnsley where Diamond supplied Mandroiu with a fabulous ball to score the winning goal."
What have been the most impressive parts of his game and areas where he could improve?
AB: “The most impressive parts of his game are his work rate and his directness on the ball.
"Diamond is not afraid of running at his opponents with the ball at his feet and that is something Lincoln have benefited from as they were lacking someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
" Additionally, Lincoln have been extremely successful with their pressing game as of late, and Diamond plays a key role alongside Ben House in closing down opponents and forcing them into errors.
"The big aspect of his game that Diamond needs to work on is his consistency in his decision-making in the final third. There have been many occasions this season where Diamond plays well but then takes the wrong option with the final ball.”
Do you think Lincoln will try and sign him permanently?
AB: “I think Diamond definitely has ambitions to play in the Championship with Sunderland, so I think it would be tough for Lincoln to acquire him on a permanent basis.
"He's brought a directness and undeniable quality to this Lincoln squad so he will be hugely missed when he does return to Sunderland after his loan period expires. If there is any possibility of him returning I would think that the Imps would pursue that.”