Manchester United are highly likely to be without striker Robin van Persie for the Manchester derby on April 12 as he is not expected to recover from his ankle injury in time, writes BBC Sport.
The Dutchman picked up the problem during the 2-1 defeat away to Swansea City in February, leaving the Liberty Stadium on crutches. He has since missed Man Utd’s last five matches in league and cup and was already ruled out of Saturday’s home encounter with struggling Aston Villa.
And manager Louis van Gaal believes there are long odds on van Persie making a comeback in the derby. Asked if the 31-year-old could make it, he responded: “I don’t think so. The process has to give me signals he is ready for that but I know that from my experience it is not like that.”
If United do claim the victory over Villa, they could find themselves second should results go their way, with Man City not in action until Monday evening, and van Gaal has talked up his side’s prospects of finishing runners-up to likely champions Chelsea, adding: “Of course (second is a realistic target). I cannot deny that because we have Manchester City at home.
“We have the strongest record at home at home so it’s possible, but Manchester City is a top team so it shall not be easy.”
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