Sunderland youngster Jack Diamond enjoying his chance to shine at Harrogate Town
Harrogate Town’s on-loan Sunderland winger Jack Diamond says he is relishing being given an opportunity to shine at Wetherby Road.
The 19-year-old attacker, who arrived in North Yorkshire in September, has become a regular starter on the left of Simon Weaver's midfield and feels that he is benefiting from getting plenty of game-time at National League level.
Indeed, he impressed sufficiently during the early stages of his stay to turn his initial three-month switch into a season-long move as Town look to realise their ambition of promotion to the Football League.
"I'm enjoying it, I'm enjoying it a lot," Diamond said.
"It was easy to settle in. I knew Becky [Mark Beck], he's from my end and it was easy enough to get to know the lads, they're all sound.
"It's competitive and much different from under-23s football, but it's good to be playing games.
"It's one of the biggest things for my development. Men's football is where I want to be, it's first-team football, and under-23s games, nobody really looks at them.
"Last year I went to Spennymoor on loan, which was good, but it obviously wasn't as competitive as this league.
"The standard is good. I'd watched a few games, so I knew it was going to be competitive, but being in and around it you see that anyone can win it [the division]."
Diamond and his team-mates were a long way from their best on the road at Sutton United on Saturday, eventually losing out 3-1 despite a 68th-minute equaliser from Josh Falkingham that looked as if it might earn the visitors something from the game.
And, the Gateshead-born wideman concedes that Town cannot afford a repeat performance at home to Torquay United this weekend if they want to stay in touch at the top of the table.
"The first half wasn't the best but at 1-0 down we always fancy ourselves to get back in. Then, at 1-1 there was a bit of hope but that good long-shot killed the momentum a bit," he added.
"You've got to keep going, you don't think negatively in the game, but sometimes it just doesn't work out.
"We were lacking intensity in both boxes and the gaffer told us that it's not good enough if we want to get where we want to get to. It's got to be better [against Torquay] we've got to respond and rectify that result.
"[The aim] is definitely to get promotion. This is an ambitious club."