Robin van Persie
Van Persie will be hoping to play some part in the derby clash against Manchester City this weekend.Getty Images

Robin van Persie could feature for Manchester United in their latest clash with rivals City after revealing that he has returned to first-team training this week.

Louis van Gaal's side welcome their struggling rivals to Old Trafford on 12 April after recording their fifth successive top-flight victory over Aston Villa last time out.

Dutch striker Van Persie, who has scored 10 goals in 25 appearances so far this season, has missed each of those wins with an ankle injury sustained during the defeat to Swansea in February, yet it appears he is nearing a comeback ahead of the remaining seven games of the current campaign.

"Back to training with the group today. Was a great session. Happy to be fit and able to play again. Looking forward to my next game!," he tweeted.

While Manchester United have coped just fine in the absence of Van Persie with captain Wayne Rooney, Marouane Fellaini and Spanish midfield duo Ander Herrera and Juan Mata in good form, Van Persie's return to the fold should no doubt provide a major boost as the club seek to secure qualification for the Champions League.

The former Arsenal favourite was even thought to be in contention for selection for the Villa game, although Van Gaal gave those rumours short shrift during his pre-match press conference.

While United have enjoyed a strong run recently, neighbours City have endured a torrid time in the same period.

A fourth consecutive away defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace left the 2013/14 champions eight points adrift of leaders Chelsea and increased speculation that manager Manuel Pellegrini will not remain in charge of the club beyond the end of the season.

That 2-1 loss at Selhurst Park also meant that City suffered the ignominy of falling behind United to fourth in the table, with Arsenal having continued their own impressive rise with an emphatic 4-1 win over Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

Twitter/@Persie_Official