Carlisle United have bolstered their squad with the signing of Sunderland winger Jack Diamond.

The 24-year-old has joined the Blues’ League One survival fight in a loan deal until the end of the season.

The move comes just over two weeks since Diamond was cleared of rape and sexual assault after a trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Upon the jury’s verdict, Diamond said he was keen to resume his career, having not played first-team football since March 2023.

He now heads to Brunton Park in the hope he can help a Carlisle side desperate for points in their bid for third-tier safety.

Diamond, who could make his debut against Bolton Wanderers at Brunton Park this weekend, has come through the Sunderland academy and also had loan spells with Harrogate Town and Lincoln City.

The Gateshead-born player has clocked up 161 senior appearances, including 42 for his parent club.

Three separate Harrogate spells saw Diamond impress in League Two, his team-mates at the time including new Blues striker Luke Armstrong.

News and Star: Diamond, right, will be reunited with former Harrogate team-mate Luke ArmstrongDiamond, right, will be reunited with former Harrogate team-mate Luke Armstrong (Image: PA)

He has scored on more than one occasion against Carlisle, including a strike in Sunderland’s 5-3 EFL Trophy win over the Blues in 2020.

The winger then scored twice against Paul Simpson’s United in Harrogate’s 3-0 win in 2022.

His most recent spell brought further League One experience through a 36-game spell at Lincoln last season.

His spell at Sincil Bank, though, ended when in March last year he was charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault against a woman he met on a dating app. His loan was terminated and he was also suspended by Sunderland as the case came to court.

A trial eventually started on January 2 this year and, five days later, a jury cleared him of all charges.

News and Star: Diamond has scored three goals against United in past meetings - including two for Harrogate in April 2022Diamond has scored three goals against United in past meetings - including two for Harrogate in April 2022 (Image: Richard Parkes)

Speaking outside the court after being cleared, Diamond said: "I have today been acquitted of all charges at Newcastle Crown Court.

"I have always maintained my innocence and today marks my total exoneration underlined by the jury reaching its verdict in seven minutes.

"I am grateful to the jury for considering the evidence carefully and for reaching what is the correct conclusion.

"I always said I was looking into clearing my name in court."

"The last 18 months have been hugely challenging.

"I would like to thank my legal team Mrs Laws KC, Mr Derbyshire and the entire team for their dedication and skill.

"I would also like to thank all my family and friends who have been with me during this time.

"I now look forward to resuming my career."

Sunderland, in a statement after the verdict, said: "Following the conclusion of the judicial process, Jack will now return to the Academy of Light and resume footballing activity.”

And today the Black Cats' sporting director Kristjaan Speakman said: “After returning to the Academy of Light earlier this month, a loan opportunity is the natural next step for Jack to achieve regular playing time.

"This move represents an opportunity for him to return to the level he was playing at last season, and we look forward to tracking his progress over the remainder of the campaign.”

Diamond is United's fifth January signing, following Armstrong, Harrison Neal, Harry Lewis and Seán Grehan through the door at Brunton Park.