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What does the future hold for Jack Diamond now Sunderland are in the Championship?

James Copley takes a look at what the future could hold for Jack Diamond following the club’s promotion from League One.

Saturday, 28th May 2022, 12:00 pm

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Jack Diamond was on the pitch as Sunderland’s players celebrated their promotion to the Championship at Wembley in front of nearly 50,000 Wearsiders.

It was nice to see him there given his eight-year association with the club, and good to know that Sunderland are now looking after their loan players, an area in which it has lacked historically.

The 22-year-old has played a part in the rise of Sunderland from the depths of League One in his own way.

Jack Sowerby of Northampton Town and Jack Diamond of Harrogate Town

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He made 24 appearances in the league during the 2020-21 season and netted a memorable goal against Lincoln City in one of Lee Johnson’s first games in charge.

Diamond also played in Sunderland’s opening-day win over Wigan Athletic at the Stadium of Light at the beginning of this season but was limited to appearances in the Carabao Cup after that.

He was then loaned to Harrogate Town in League Two having previously helped the club to promotion from the National League.

The Gateshead-born man even returned to the Sunderland briefly to help the club during an outbreak of Covid-19 and featured in games against Wycombe and Lincoln City before returning.

Despite a disrupted season, Diamond has enjoyed a fruitful season under Harrogate manager Simon Weaver, with the pair appreciating a good relationship.

He netted 13 times in League Two and provided a further six assists, taking his league goal contributions to an impressive 19 this campaign.

With Aiden McGeady’s departure, there is a spot in Alex Neil’s squad potentially free for an attacker.

However, that spot could very well be as a backup with Sunderland expected to retain the services of Patrick Roberts, Elliot Embleton and Alex Pritchard.

And should Jack Clarke and/or Nathan Broadhead re-sign, Diamond could fall even further down the pecking order… and that is before any new left-field signings arrive. Leon Dajaku is also staying on.

Diamond clearly possesses the talent to succeed in the EFL as he has proven consistently with Harrogate Town and in glimpses at Sunderland.

To what level Diamond belongs is a bit of a mystery at present.

Good enough for League Two? Certainly. Could he play regularly in League One? Absolutely. Does he have time on his side to develop into a Championship player? Probably.

Diamond is under contract at Sunderland until 2024. He signed that deal in March last year with Johnson giving the impression that the player was to grow with the club… but Johnson is no longer in charge.

Clearly, sporting director Kristjaan Speakman sees the player as a potential asset, one which can be developed and then sold for a profit or make an impact in the first team again at some point.

In terms of next season, however, a good loan stint to a club where he will feature regularly in League One could prove to be the best option for all parties.

Diamond would receive exposure at a higher level, with the chance to further prove his credentials whilst learning his craft.

Much, though, will depend on how deep Sunderland’s first-team squad is when the opening day of the season rolls around.