Ben Haim in brief Blues return

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Tal Ben Haim is not expected to play for Pompey again despite returning to training with the club.

The Israeli defender spent the first half of the season on loan at West Ham, with Pompey desperate to offload him from their wage bill.

But the former Chelsea player was back among Steve Cotterill’s squad at their Eastleigh training ground this week before today’s Championship showdown with Derby County.

Ben Haim is currently in dispute with the Hammers over his contract, with the defender believing he has now earned a permanent deal with Avram Grant’s side after meeting certain terms of his loan spell.

While the legal dispute continues, Ben Haim will train with Pompey in an attempt to stay fit but will not be eligible for games.

Importantly for Pompey, Ben Haim’s wages – which are believed to be in excess of £30,000 per week – are not being paid by the Blues.

Ben Haim’s agent, Pini Zahavi, said: ‘He is in Portsmouth at the moment and it is impossible to say what will happen.

‘He won’t play for them again, though, and we will know quite soon what is going to happen with West Ham.’

Blues chief executive David Lampitt was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, former Pompey forward John Utaka will have to wait to make his Montpellier debut after picking up a leg injury.

The Nigerian left Fratton Park for £430,000 last week and was hoping to make his debut against Saint Etienne this weekend but is now expected to be out for two weeks.

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