Sunderland veteran Dwight Yorke is eager to prove he still has a part to play in the club's Premier League plans.
The former Manchester United striker, who has been converted into a midfielder at the Stadium of Light, suffered a fractured eye socket during the club's pre-season clash with Vitoria Setubal in Portugal.
Yorke was on the bench for the 3-0 home defeat by Manchester City last time out and is now eager to force his way into Roy Keane's first XI plans.
The summer signings of Steed Malbranque and Teemu Tainio from Spurs have increased competition for places in the North East, but the 36-year-old remains confident in his own abilities.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "I'm three or four weeks behind the rest of the lads in terms of match fitness, but I was able to stay fairly active when I had the injury.
"I do feel a fully fit Dwight Yorke has a part to play or I wouldn't have signed a new contract.
"I had a long chat with the manager in the summer, he said he felt I could play a part in the Premier League.
"That was good enough for me and that's why I signed the deal.
"I knew he would be bringing a lot of players and competition would be intense, but that is what we all live for. Obviously I feel I can compete against these guys. I can bring the experience that we still need."
Yorke will get some much-needed match practice during the forthcoming international break as he expects to feature for Trindad & Tobago in their World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala and Ecuador.
But Yorke insists he will always put club before country and will turn down international action if it hampers Sunderland.
He added: "I'm totally in control of the situation.
"I think I need games at the moment and I think going away to play a couple of competitive matches will do me good. The travel aspect isn't great, but I have coped with that in the past and I know how to handle it. I have spoken to the gaffer in the past and nothing has changed with my situation with Trinidad & Tobago.
"If it is right for me to go play for them, I will, but if I'm playing a big part in the season here then I can always take a step back."