Tim Cahill: Millwall will bed veteran Australia forward in slowly

Tim Cahill is presented to the crowd at The Den before Millwall's game against Derby County
Cahill scored 57 goals in 251 games for Millwall between 1997 and 2004

New Millwall signing Tim Cahill needs to improve his match fitness before making his second debut for the Lions, according to boss Neil Harris.

The 38-year-old Australia forward was presented to the crowd at The Den ahead of Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Derby.

Cahill, who has rejoined the Championship club until the end of the season, has not played since December.

"Tim won't be fit for matches for a good couple for weeks yet. We have got to bed him in slowly," Harris said.

Cahill had been without a club since leaving Australian A League side Melbourne City in December.

"He has not trained in a group for seven weeks and did not play a lot of minutes before that," Harris told BBC Radio London.

"We have got to be careful with him as he is not getting any younger. We will take our time.

"He is going to be an impact player for us while be builds up his fitness and then if he is in the team, it will be on merit."

Cahill 'wants to be part' of Millwall

Tim Cahill and Neil Harris celebrate an FA Cup win against Tranmere Rovers in the 2003-04 season
Tim Cahill played alongside current Lions boss Neil Harris (right) during his first spell at Millwall

Cahill scored 57 goals in 251 games for Millwall between 1997 and 2004, helping them win the third-tier title in 2001 and reach the FA Cup final in 2004.

He has since had spells at Everton, New York Red Bulls, Shanghai Shenhua and Hangzhou Greentown, as well as appearing in three World Cups for the Socceroos.

Harris, who played alongside Cahill for the Lions, thinks the veteran's memories of his first spell in south east London helped tempt him back to The Den.

"He had lots of offers from around the world but he really wanted to come and play for Millwall again," Harris, 40, said.

"He is not the midfield player that left years ago - a box-to-box runner - as he plays slightly higher up the park.

"He wants to come and be part of it and pass on his qualities and experience he has picked up over the years.

"This club gave him his first opportunity - as it did for me - and I know what it means for him to be here."