Phil Parkinson gives big Jack Diamond update and reveals latest on Danny Graham and Arbenit Xhemajli

Sunderland will hold further talks with Arbenit Xhemajli as Phil Parkinson assesses his next steps in the transfer market.

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 5:37 pm

The Kosovan did not feature in the 3-1 win over Carlisle United on Saturday, with Parkinson revealing that this had always been part of the arrangement that brought him to Wearside initially.

Parkinson says he rates the 22-year-old but has a few options in that position.

“He's gone back, the arrangement always was for him to stay for the weekend,” Parkinson said.

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Sunderland trialist Arbenit Xhemajli

"So he's gone back and we'll have a chat later on this evening about how we're going to progress that.

“He looks a good player.

“There's other players also we're looking at in that position and we want to make the right decision.”

Parkinson also said that he was still assessing his options up front, after confirming on Saturday that he was interest in potentially bringing former striker Danny Graham back to the club.

A third striker is a pressing priority for the manager, but he stressed that he is eager to ensure he makes the right call within the salary cap restrictions.

“As I said, Danny is a quality striker,” Parkinson said.

“He can hold the ball up, get us goals, and he's someone we're interested in.

“Without going over old ground, with the financial constraints we're in, we've got to get the best players available within the salary cap realm.

“He's one of a few we're looking at, there are a few others.

“The squad is decent, we know we're not yet there yet but we're piecing it together.”

One player who did feature against Carlisle was talented youngster Jack Diamond, who Parkinson confirmed would be staying with the first-team group this season.

Diamond thrived on loan at Harrogate Town last season, but Parkinson says he has intention of loaning him out again.

While Diamond played in a wing-back role against Carlisle, Parkinson said he was still looking at adding cover in that position before the transfer window shuts in October.

“With Jack, he had a good season for Harrogate,” Parkinson 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 learnng 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.

“We are still working at the wing-back area, but these youngsters have been a bonus for us.”

Parkinson added that a crop of youngsters, including Diamond, Dan Neil, Elliot Embleton and Brandon Taylor, were emerging as ‘bonus options’ ahead of the new League One season.

Sunderland face Harrogate Town in their final friendly on Saturday.