Sunderland AFC's Jack Diamond unlikely to return to Harrogate Town, but Simon Weaver IS looking at loan market

Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver has revealed that he does intend to delve into the loan market in January, but says it is unlikely that fans’ favourite Jack Diamond will be returning to the club.

By Rhys Howell
Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 7:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th December 2020, 7:50 pm
Jack Diamond in action for Harrogate Town against Chesterfield. Pictures: Matt Kirkham
Jack Diamond in action for Harrogate Town against Chesterfield. Pictures: Matt Kirkham

The Sulphurites boss plans on adding “quality padding” to his squad once the winter transfer window opens and is already lining up both permanent and temporary moves for a number of targets.

There has been plenty of speculation regarding the possibility of a re-union with highly-rated Sunderland winger Diamond, with Town supporters desperate to see the player back in North Yorkshire for the second half of the club’s debut season in the EFL.

The 20-year-old shone during the latter months of his loan spell last term, scoring the final goal in Harrogate’s 3-1 National League play-off final triumph over Notts County at Wembley.

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Jack Diamond celebrates after putting Harrogate Town 3-1 up against Notts County at Wembley.

Weaver was keen for Diamond to return in the summer, though Black Cats chief Phil Parkinson wanted to take a closer look at the youngster having been suitably impressed by his performances in Town colours.

Parkinson’s dismissal from the Black Cats hot-seat last month led to hopes in certain quarters that Diamond could become available in the New Year, however the livewire attacker was handed a start in Tuesday’s EFL Trophy victory at Oldham Athletic and produced a display that was described by new Sunderland boss Lee Johnson as “fantastic.”

“I very much doubt we’ll be able to get Jack Diamond back here,” Weaver told the Harrogate Advertiser.

“Sunderland’s new manager saw fit to start him on Tuesday night and they’ve gone on and won that game. We had it watched and Jack played very well. He got a lot of praise from his manager, so I can’t see it.

“As I’ve said before, we cannot pin our hopes on him coming back here.

“Our season can’t be defined by whether Jack Diamond comes back or not. We’ve told the players who are in contention for the position on the left that Jack played in last season to step up and grab the opportunity, just like he did.”

Weaver’s desire to strengthen comes following a run of form that has seen Town win just once in nine League Two outings.

The Harrogate boss has commented on a number of occasions that he has feels that his relatively small squad has struggled with the demands and intensity of EFL football, and for that reason he is looking to increase the size of his playing group.

“It’s about helping the lads in the squad so that everyone is fresh when they are playing,” he added.

“What I want is quality padding, not just more numbers. I want competition for places across the whole squad, not just a situation where we have a core group of starters who stay in the side no matter what.

“There is no hiding place in this league. I don’t think that anyone has let us down in terms of their performances this season, but you will certainly get found out if your energy levels are not right, so that is why we need that depth, but also for the lads who are waiting for a start to be good enough to come in and make a real difference.

“I’ve got targets in mind and we are already looking at what we can do. The loan market is certainly an area that we’re interested in.”