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Sunderland could be pitched into a club versus country row with Trinidad and Tobago for the second time this season.


With three internationals from the Caribbean country in their ranks - Carlos Edwards, Dwight Yorke and Stern John - the Black Cats were always leaving themselves open to the possibility of having some of their star players dragged across the globe in the middle of the season.

And although John has been left out of the squad to face Chile, Edwards and Yorke are due to travel to Santiago for a March 25 friendly unless Keane - or injuries - intervene.

While the match falls right in the middle of a fortnight spell with no Sunderland game - that weekend has been kept free for international matches - the club's website nevertheless hinted at Keane's reservations.

"Roy Keane will be reluctant to let two of his most influential players make the 15,000-mile round trip at such a crucial stage of the season," it warned.

The Wearsiders' next game after Trinidad's Chile fixture is away to Cardiff City in the Championship on Saturday, March 31.

Edwards could be spared the trip to South America after injuring his shoulder in Saturday's 2-1 win over promotion rivals West Bromwich Albion.

The former Wrexham and Luton Town right-winger is waiting to find the full extent of the damage he did at the weekend, although it would be a big surprise if he was fit to face Barnsley at Oakwell on Saturday.

Privately the fear is Edwards could be out for the rest of the season, but it will take another scan later in the week before an accurate diagnosis can be made.

If Edwards is forced to withdraw from the Santiago friendly that will leave just Yorke having to decide between club and country for the second time since moving to the North-East in August.

The 35-year-old pulled out of an October friendly against Panama, so whether that makes him more or less likely to withdraw this time remains to be seen. With a Concacaf Gold Cup campaign in the United States to prepare for this summer, Soca Warriors coach Wim Rijsbergen will no doubt be eager to have the strongest possible squad available.

Like his compatriot Edwards, Yorke is also a doubt to face Barnsley with a hamstring strain, although the club are hoping a couple of days' rest will rectify the problem.

The match comes on the back of three against leading title contenders Birmingham City, Derby County and West Bromwich Albion but, although the Tykes are only three points above the relegation zone, Keane has warned his players not to take them lightly.

"We can't be thinking the hard work is done, far from it," he said. "Barnsley will be just as difficult as our last three games. We had a decent day on Saturday (against West Brom) and now we work hard for next Saturday. Barnsley are fighting for their lives.

"There is a lot of hard work ahead and our aim now is simple - to win at Barnsley. We want to be in a position where we can pounce if Birmingham or Derby slip up."

Keane, though, trusts his players to show the necessary application.

"It's all in the head, whoever believes they can do it, will and I have a good bunch of players," he told the club's official website. "I'm not concerned they will lose focus."

Meanwhile, West Brom captain Paul Robinson has successfully appealed against the red card he was awarded in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Sunderland.

The Baggies used video evidence to argue there was no contact between the left-back and Liam Miller in an 87th-minute incident which saw Robinson dismissed by the referee for a professional foul.