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Van Persie could return for United against Everton

Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini challenges Manchester United's Robin van Persie (L) during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Traffo
Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini challenges Manchester United's Robin van Persie (L) during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Traffo

LONDON (Reuters) - Robin van Persie could return from injury for Manchester United's Premier League game with Everton on Wednesday, manager David Moyes said on Tuesday.

The Dutch striker has been sidelined with a groin problem since scoring the winner in United's 1-0 victory over Arsenal on November 10.

But Moyes, who faces former club Everton for the first time since succeeding Alex Ferguson, told a news conference on Tuesday: "Robin is OK. He has a chance of playing."

Van Persie has scored seven times in 10 league games for the champions this season and in his absence United have dropped four points in draws at Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Moyes was in charge at Goodison Park for 11 years, during which time Everton's best league finish was fourth in 2005.

Now, with Everton fifth in the league and on a run of six games unbeaten, Moyes is looking up at his old employer as they visit eighth-placed United.

The Scot acknowledged the work of his successor, Roberto Martinez, but suggested that not all the credit should go to the Spaniard.

"He is doing a very good job," Moyes said. "He has very good players there. I always told them they could play without a manager because they are very well organized. But Roberto is doing a really good job keeping it going.

"Everton were a great club for me ... they were fabulous to me. Overall we had a good level of consistency, finished well in the division," Moyes added.

"It could be a mixed reaction at times (from the Everton supporters) tomorrow night. The Everton fans understand their football and I think they'll understand I brought in a lot of good players there."

Moyes has taken United on a 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions since they lost 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion in the league in September.

They enjoyed their best win of the Moyes era in a 5-0 victory at Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League last week, but are nine points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.

"The job is to keep (this unbeaten period) going, keep winning and keep on a good run of form," Moyes said.

"We've done that, but as I've repeated myself many times, we let in a late goal at Cardiff which turned what would have been a really good week into one that wasn't quite as good as we would have liked.

"But we still drew two games and won one last week. We'd like that to be a better ratio but nevertheless it's not a bad one either."

Everton have not beaten United at Old Trafford since August 1992, when they won 3-0.

(Writing by Stephen Wood, editing by Ed Osmond)

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