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Dwight Yorke is looking forward to Saturday's clash with tabletoppers West Brom after successfully dodging a suspension last weekend.


The Sunderland striker has collected four yellow cards this season - the last of which came at Sheffield Wednesday last month - and one more booking would have earned him a one-match ban.

There was some confusion in the game against Derby at the weekend as to whether the 35-year-old had been booked, with even boss Roy Keane convinced that he had, but referee Martin Atkinson has confirmed that that was not the case.

And by avoiding a card against Derby last weekend, the Trinidad & Tobago international has made it to the end of February without hitting five cautions.

Having reached the end of February cut-off point, FA disciplinary rules mean he will now escape a ban, even if he is booked again.

Yorke said: "It's a big relief and I can look forward to West Brom now. We knew that the Derby game was the last one where I would have been banned for a match if I'd got booked.

"A couple of people asked me after the match about being booked - even the gaffer thought I had - but I never saw a card against me and thankfully the referee confirmed that.

"I've been on four yellows for a few weeks now. Playing in midfield, you run the risk of picking up cards because you're right in the thick of it. You've got to put yourself about and make your tackles.

"I've gone out and played my normal game and thankfully I've got through it without picking up a ban."

Skipper Dean Whitehead was banned for the Derby game after he accumulated five cautions but he is now available to return for the trip to The Hawthorns, leaving Keane with a tough decision to make.

Whitehead, Yorke and Liam Miller - who scored the winner against Derby in injury-time - are all competing for just two central midfield berths, with Grant Leadbitter and Tommy Miller also in the running.

Yorke said: "The strength we have in our squad is going to be crucial. We got through a tough game against Derby without Deano, who is a great young player, and I know the lads would have coped without me if I'd been unlucky enough to get a ban."

Sunderland conceded a late equaliser at promotion rivals Birmingham last Tuesday but bounced back to beat another promotion-chasing side, Derby, with a late winner.

Yorke said: "We know how bad Derby must have felt on Saturday because we felt the same at Birmingham last week.

"Even though we drew at St Andrews, we were so disappointed to concede that late goal and it felt like a defeat.

"It will be a test of our character against West Brom, but we went to Birmingham and showed a great deal of character. We should have had maximum points so we know what we're capable of."