Soccer-Trinidad preparations hit by Yorke withdrawal

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Sept 7 Mon Sep 8, 2008 2:56am BST

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Trinidad and Tobago's preparations for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier in the United States were hit when captain Dwight Yorke bowed to pressure from his English club Sunderland to skip the match.

Yorke wore the captain's armband in the 1-1 draw against Guatemala on Saturday but did not travel to the United States with the Soca Warriors.

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) said Yorke was ruled out with a thigh injury but the veteran midfielder confirmed that Sunderland had ordered his return to England.

"I am feeling caught between a rock and a hard place with my club and my country," Yorke told the Trinidad Express. "I want to play against the U.S. but I don't know if I will be allowed to."

Yorke, 36, recently signed a new one-year deal with Sunderland and has been promised a coaching job with the Premier League club at the end of his playing career.

However, Sunderland manager Roy Keane is not sympathetic towards Yorke's international aspirations, ordering him to skip the U.S. match in order to be fresh for Saturday's game against Wigan.

Sunderland are obliged by FIFA to make their players available for World Cup qualifiers but it is unlikely that FIFA vice-president and T&TFF special advisor Jack Warner will take action considering the possible ramifications for the country's most celebrated player.

Yorke's absence is a huge blow for the Warriors who were already without suspended midfielder Khaleem Hyland and left back Avery John, and injured regular captain and playmaker Aurtis Whitley.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)