By Richard Clarke

The return of Robin van Persie could give Arsenal a crucial injection of confidence and goals for the run-in, according to Arsène Wenger.

A combination of ailments has meant the Dutch striker has played just three times in the last five months. He is hoping to return to training next week after a thigh problem however, contrary to indications on Thursday, the 24-year-old is unlikely to be in the squad for the Champions League Knockout Round second leg on March 4.

Still, speaking at Friday's pre-match press conference, Arsène Wenger did suggest Van Persie's eventual return would be a welcome fillip.

"It could be a positive when he comes back," said the Frenchman. "It could give us the kind of push that is needed and we hope that happens soon.

"At the moment Robin is close to returning to the squad training next week.  But he will be short for the second leg in Milan because he has not really played for five months.

"However I must say as well I would like Diaby back and I would like Djourou back, because with Kolo out we are short of centre backs.

"And I would like Rosicky back too because, in games like Wednesday night, he would have been important."

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Richard Clarke 22 Feb 2008