Sunderland Echo writer Phil Smith has touched on the absences of Jack Diamond and Dan Neil from Sunderland’s opening two League One games.
The Black Cats have had a moderately good start to the League One season, bouncing back after the opening day draw with Bristol Rovers with a win over Oxford United at the weekend. Four points in two games has given Sunderland a morale boost ahead of this coming weekend’s fixture with Peterborough.
Two players who have not featured for the Wearsiders in the opening two games, however, are Diamond and Neil, despite both impressing during pre-season.
Diamond returned to Sunderland after an impressive season with Harrogate Town, whilst Neil remained with the club this summer despite gaining interest from a number of clubs, including Leeds United. As per Sunderland Echo, Smith said of the duo:
“Parkinson spoke about Neil & Diamond’s exclusion from the squad last week on Thursday and in his comments, it was clear that we shouldn’t expect to see them at Oxford on Saturday.
“It has been a shame not to see them on the bench, particularly at the Kassam Stadium with George Dobson being suspended.
“In Neil’s case, he has a really bright future but when Lynden Gooch isn’t getting in the starting XI, you can see why it’s going to be tough.
“Diamond is a little different in that you think there probably could be a spot on the bench for someone who can play at wing-back as well as further forward.
“Generally, though, Parkinson laid down a pretty clear gauntlet to both on Thursday.
“He emphatically ruled out any loan move before January and said that gave them time to break through.
“He also said there would be chances in October when the fixtures start to pile up.
“They’ll both play U23 and EFL Trophy games, so the key is for them to really impress in those games.
“If they do, then there will rightly be an expectation for league opportunities given what has been said about Aiden McGeady and the academy more generally this summer.”
Sunderland fans may be excited to see both Diamond and Neil gain time on the pitch this season but, as Parkinson seems to have hinted, the duo will need to remain patient
The Black Cats have one mission this season – to gain promotion. That leaves Parkinson with very little scope for experimentation but, if he feels the time is right, he may well give Diamond and Neil some minutes on the pitch.
Do you think Diamond and Neil should have been given a chance in the first team for the start of the League One season? Let us know your views in the comments section below…
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