This is what Lee Johnson said about Jack Diamond's progress - and Sunderland's January decision
Lee Johnson says Sunderland will make the ‘best decision for all parties’ when they review Jack Diamond’s loan at Harrogate Town in January.
Diamond is currently due to spend the entire campaign with the League Two side, but the Black Cats would have the option to recall him in January.
Johnson said that is ‘of course’ an active consideration, but says there are a lot of factors involved, and some that could change by the time the window opens.
He noted that the wide positions are ones where he is arguably best stocked right now, although given the heavy schedule his side is facing between now and the new year, that is something which could change.
The head coach said the club are ‘heavily invested’ in Diamond’s long-term development, and that regular starts is crucial to serving that whether it be on Wearside or in Harrogate.
“It’s always on review, of course,” Johnson said.
“It’s always fluid, always a changing landscape in terms of everyone’s position.
“I had seven wingers available, or who could at least have played out wide, for the Ipswich game.
“Jack is a young player who we are heavily invested in, in terms of development and his contract.
“We wanted to give him the chance to keep developing, keep playing games, and if I couldn’t commit to 12/15 starts before January, it was better off he went somewhere to play, and that could potentially aid us in the second half of the season. Or, continues to develop at Harrogate Town.
“We’ll make the best decision for the long-term for both parties.”
Diamond returned to Wearside for a couple of days training in the early stages of last week, given Johnson and his staff the opportunity to work closely with the 21-year-old and review his progress.
That close proximity is one of the reasons why the loan is seen to be working well, while it is also seen as a positive that Diamond has a key role in a side pushing for promotion.
Despite a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Salford City on Saturday afternoon, Harrogate still sit in the play-off places following a strong start to the campaign.
“He’s in a good team there and he’s really well valued there, which I think gives him that feeling of gravitas,” Johnson said.
“We’ve kept a close eye on him, we watch all his games.
“He’s bringing out all his top attributes which you would expect, a player playing probably slightly under his level in terms of the league.
“I think he could still play regularly in League One, but he wanted to go back to Harrogate.
“Location wise that worked for us as well, because we can keep an eye on him and get him back in, as we did last week.
“On a human level as well, it shows he’s still really involved with us and within that, we’ll sit down, look at his clips, work out the angles where he can continue his development and his improvement.”