Sunderland boss gives this update as club weigh up Jack Diamond loan call
Lee Johnson has said that Sunderland have not made a final decision on whether Jack Diamond will stay at the club until the end of the season, though it is expected that he will return to Harrogate Town later this month.
The Black Cats were already weighing up a recall for the talented winger when there was an outbreak of COVID-19 amongst the playing group last week.
Diamond was quickly brought back and started the 3-1 in over Lincoln City, one of his side's stronger attacking threats on an ultimately bitterly disappointing night.
The 22-year-old remains with Sunderland ahead of the trip to Accrington Stanley tomorrow, though Johnson expects to have 'two or three' senior players back in the fold.
Whether Diamond returns to Harrogate will depend in part on whether Sunderland recruit further this month, with Patrick Roberts one of the attacking midfielders they are known to be tracking in the January window.
“There’s always opportunities to impress," Johnson said.
"If Jack Diamond bangs in five goals, then there’s no way he’s going back.
“Game time is how it will be judged. If there’s game time for him here, then he stays in, but if we feel that game time is going to be restricted or limited in any way and somebody’s offering him more, then we have to conclude that would be the right thing to do.
"There’s a balance, and it’s difficult."
“Sometimes, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Look at [Elliot] Embleton last year. It bit us on the backside really, but we’ve also got a much better player for his experiences who is now performing really well in a Sunderland shirt. It’s a little bit of a Catch-22 whatever you decide, but that consistency of development for players under 25 is really important.
“You’ve always got to take into account that individual’s progression. Jack’s a young player that’s come through our academy, so we’ve got a big responsibility to do what’s right in terms of his development."
Diamond, Anthony Patterson and Josh Hawkes are all expected to resume their loan spells later in the window.