Dwight Yorke has confirmed that he will be fully involved in Trinidad and Tobago's forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
The Sunderland veteran plans to represent his country in the fixtures against Honduras on 28th March and United States on 1st April.
With the Black Cats on the fringes of the Premier League relegation zone, Yorke's absence will come between the club's meetings with Manchester City and West Ham.
Although the former Manchester United striker, who was converted to a midfield role by former boss Roy Keane, is only a bit-part player at the Stadium of Light, he is heavily involved alongside manager Ricky Sbragia on the training ground.
"I've already made my mind up and I've passed the message on that I will be with the team going into the next match," Yorke told Trinidad and Tobago's official website.
"It's important that as captain that I'm around and can train with the boys and get myself ready for the matches after that as well."
Meanwhile, Kieran Richardson believes the Black Cats will go into their testing away days at Arsenal and Liverpool in good heart.
Two wins and a draw from their last three league fixtures has given them some breathing space above the bottom three, while a free weekend has allowed niggling injury problems to clear up.
Richardson told the Sunderland Echo: "It's been a good little sequence of results. We set ourselves a target of seven points from those three games and we achieved that.
"And you can see the effect it has had on our situation in the table.
"The break has given us a chance to shake off a few little injury problems. From my own point of view, I've had a few minor knocks and this has given me the chance to get fully fit and recharge my batteries.
"We've got a few players recovering from injuries, and to have them fully fit again will be great for the club, but we are also hoping that we don't end up with any new injuries from the lads away on international duty."