By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes Robin van Persie could be back by the end of April – but only if his recovery stays on track.

The Dutch forward has been out since November after suffering ankle ligament damage during an international friendly against Italy.

Van Persie’s ability to lead the line has been missed – especially when Nicklas Bendtner was also sidelined – but Wenger hopes to see him back in an Arsenal shirt before the end of the season.

“If you ask me is it the beginning of April, I would say categorically no because he has not started any real fitness work yet,” said Wenger at his pre-match press conference.

“Once he starts that, it will take at least six weeks.

“Maybe [he will be back] at the end of April if all goes well. If there is no set-back, he should be back before the end of the season but it is very difficult to predict.”

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19 Feb 2010