Sunderland considering loaning out this forward ahead of deadline day
Lee Johnson says Jack Diamond could yet depart the club on loan before the end of the transfer window.
Diamond was left of the squad as the Black Cats beat AFC Wimbledon 1-0, with Josh Hawkes preferred on the bench.
Competition for places in forward areas is fierce, with Alex Pritchard making his full league debut at the Stadium of Light.
Johnson added that Sunderland are still active in the transfer market when it comes to the wide areas, and that could have a knock-on effect for Diamond’s short-term future.
Sunderland handed Diamond a three-year deal earlier this year, and believe the talented winger has the attributes to thrive in the top tiers in the long term.
But they are eager to ensure they protect his development and that could mean a loan spell.
"It's something we've discussed with Jack,” Johnson said.
“We have talked about a loan.
“I've said many times that to properly develop a young player, they probably need 25 starts across a season.
“That's no different to 90% of our players and especially the younger ones.
“We've had a lot of loan offers for Jack and clubs showing interest in a loan deal.
“We are also potentially in the market for that type of position.
“We've also got Josh Hawkes and he's done well. He's got that quality and today I just thought, there's a chance that in the last 20 minutes or so we could have them camped in their box and I think Hawkesy has that very good scoring record.
“It was a tight decision.
“If I could put them both in a tumble dryer I would have a top, top player.
“But of course they're both still learning, still developing.”
Johnson is still looking to make additions to his Sunderland squad, with Niall Huggins becoming the club’s seventh summer addition on Friday afternoon.
With Denver Hume yet to accept a new deal at the club, the Black Cats remain in the hunt for more strength in depth at full back.
On Friday afternoon the head coach says he was open to upgrades right across the pitch as the end of the window nears.