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Van Persie hopeful of Manchester United return against Sunderland

By Paul Clennam

Manchester United forward Robin van Persie could be included on the bench against Sunderland on Saturday.

The Netherlands international has not featured since scoring a hat-trick against Olympiakos in the Champions League quarter-finals on March 19, having been stretchered off late in that game with a knee injury.

He returned to training with the Red Devils on Friday and has been performing well at Carrington since then, leaving him optimistic of an appearance against Gus Poyet's men.

Van Persie had initially been expected to miss the rest of the season, with his participation in the summer's World Cup in doubt, but his quick return will be a major boost to both United and the Netherlands.

His national coach, Louis van Gaal, is soon to be announced as the next Red Devils manager, a development which has boosted the striker, as the pair share an agent, Kees Vos, and a good working relationship.