Van Persie targets return for Manchester derby following ankle ligament injury

Robin van Persie has targeted the Manchester derby on April 12 for his return from injury.

The Manchester United striker has missed the last five games after suffering ankle ligament damage in the 2-1 defeat at Swansea more than a month ago.

But Van Persie believes he will be back in time for the Premier League clash with City at Old Trafford as Louis van Gaal’s side fight for second place with their neighbours, who are currently two points ahead. The Dutchman scored a memorable late winner at the Etihad in 2012 to help United seize the title back from City.

Van Persie has spent some time at home in Holland during his layoff, but he has been working hard in the gym under the supervision of United physio Matt Radcliffe and is expected to step up his rehabilitation during the international break.

United have coped well in Van Persie’s absence, winning all four Premier League games – beating top-four rivals Liverpool and Tottenham – but lost in the FA Cup against his old club Arsenal.

The 31-year-old has scored 10 goals in 26 games for his club this season, although he admitted in January that his form has not been good enough and is uncertain if United will offer him a contract extension before his current deal runs out in 15 months’ time.

Credit: Chris Wheeler/SportsMail