Sunderland AFC loanee Jack Diamond emerging as Harrogate Town's ace in the pack
Harrogate Town’s run of 11 wins in their last 14 matches means that they are very much in with a shout of winning the National League and also just two games away from a Wembley final.
As Simon Weaver’s team has evolved in recent months, there have of course been plenty of stand-out individual performances.
Up top, Jack Muldoon has been in excellent form in front of goal of late, while winger George Thomson has delivered some outstanding match-winning displays.
Most recently, however, it is the impact of Sunderland-loanee Jack Diamond that has really caught the eye.
Understandably inconsistent at times during the earlier stages of his first full season in senior football, the 20-year-old winger has begun to flourish and is suddenly delivering telling contributions on a regular basis.
Diamond scored in consecutive games against Yeovil Town and then Eastleigh before helping create three of the four goals that his team netted during last week’s thrilling 4-3 triumph at Chesterfield, in addition to seeing a strike controversially ruled out for handball.
Then, on Saturday, he popped up to open the scoring against Bromley, continuing his purple patch and taking his personal tallies for the season to four goals and eight assists.
The end product hasn’t always been there, but according to boss Weaver, the signs that there was a special talent waiting to emerge have been apparent in training for quite a while.
“We knew he was good enough,” the Town manager said.
“We saw the potential with what Jack was doing in training on a regular basis, so we challenged him to start delivering in games.
“We challenged him to show everyone what he can do, because matches are where you are judged.
“If we are being brutally honest, the end product wasn’t good enough, but now Jack is red-hot and he’s doing it.
“It’s always satisfying to see a young player coming through and realising their potential, but it’s the player that deserves all the credit.
“His attitude since he came here has been spot on.”
Diamond initially arrived at Wetherby Road in September on a short-term loan deal from League One Sunderland, but Town opted to extend his stay until the end of 2019/20.
“He’s really bought into this loan,” Weaver added.
“He’s a really good lad, he’s not arrogant or big-time at all. He might be a Sunderland player, but he didn’t come with an attitude of ‘oh I’m only here for a short period of time, so it doesn’t really matter’.
“He’s fully committed himself to trying to play his part in achieving something special this season and I think you can say he is reaping his rewards now.
“He is benefitting from playing regular games of first-team football and I think there are so many other young lads who are missing out because they don’t get this opportunity.
“These players need more than just academy football. They need chances like Jack has had to test them as people, to show how they react to things like getting dropped or a crowd getting on their backs.
“Credit to Sunderland for letting Jack come here, and credit to him for how he’s done.”
As far as Diamond’s improved contribution is concerned, Weaver believes that his player has learned from mistakes he made earlier on his spell with Harrogate.
“He is now choosing better times to take risks,” he said.
“We want him to take those risks in the opposition half. I think he’s learned when and where to try and get at the opposition.
“He’s such a threat when he is on the ball, he’s able to grab hold of the game and go and do real damage.
“He’s a very exciting player to watch, it’s great to see him in such brilliant form and helping the team.”