Sunderland star Jack Diamond on his incredible loan spell and Wembley aims as Harrogate Town eye remarkable promotion

While Sunderland’s hopes of promotion may have been dashed by the curtailment of the League One season, one of their number is still in with a chance of glory as the 2019/20 season enters its final days.

Saturday, 1st August 2020, 12:00 pm

For on Sunday, academy graduate Jack Diamond is set to take to the hallowed turf at Wembley Stadium and help Harrogate Town complete the most remarkable of promotions.

The 20-year-old, who headed to the CNG Stadium on loan at the start of the campaign, has been instrumental as Simon Weaver’s side defied the odds to find themselves battling it out at the top of the National League table.

Indeed, has the season continued, there was every chance that the North Yorkshire outfit would have been promoted automatically. But as it was, they were forced to settle for the play-offs.

Jack Diamond is set to head to Wembley this weekend with Harrogate Town

A semi-final victory over Boreham Wood, in which Diamond was named player of the match, has teed-up a clash at Wembley with Notts County – with the winner taking their place in League Two.

It’s a dream come true for Diamond – who is expected to start beneath the arch, and is keen to embrace everything the national stadium has to offer.

Speaking to The Echo ahead of the game, he said: "You're always going to be nervous, but it's not that I'm scared - I just can't wait to get on the pitch.

"I want to get over all the build-up and just get out there, I'm excited.

"It's a monumental stadium so you just have to take it all in on the day,” he continued.

"I just want to take it in my stride.

"Obviously I've spoken to people and the biggest thing they say is to take it all in. It's a big occasion and a lot of people might go there and focus on the game, but I just want to realise the achievement and play to the best of my ability."

Harrogate are the underdogs for the final, with County – managed by former Wimbledon boss Neal Ardely – tipped for promotion.

But for Diamond and his teammates, for whom the target has always been promotion, confidence is high.

"Promotion was always the goal,” he added.

"I wanted to go out on loan and when Harrogate came the first thing they said was that they were an ambitious club and that they wanted to win games and play good football - and that's what every attacking player wants to hear.

"Ever since I went there the message was clear. We thought that we were one of the best, if not the best team in the league, so we wanted to go for promotion.

"We're ambitious and we just want to win. Whether Notts County are a bigger club or whatever, that won't phase anyone.”

Diamond is set to return to training with the Black Cats after Sunday’s play-off final – but is hopeful he’ll be able to have help his temporary side to one more victory before his departure.

“Hopefully we can win, have a good night on Sunday, and then my focus turns to Sunderland.”