Witkins challenges Cahill to fire Millwall into élite

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The Independent Football

Tim Cahill has been challenged to fulfil his potential by following up his FA Cup semi-final match-winning goal with the goals to take Millwall into the Premiership.

The Millwall assistant manager, Ray Wilkins, believes Cahill proved he was top-flight material with the winner against Sunderland, which booked the club a first appearance in the final. But Millwall must now concentrate on the visit of their rivals for promotion, Cardiff City, tonight with the First Division play-off race gathering pace, and Cahill will be asked to play a leading role. Wilkins said: "He's a very talented young man and I sincerely hope he fulfils the potential that he has.

"He could play in the Premiership easily. I believe scoring midfield players are an extreme asset to any side and he's very good at that. It has been fairytale stuff for him. But we have to make sure we're all in the right frame of mind on Wednesday.

"There can't be a lack of focus because the league is our main objective and we are in a fantastic position. We have the ability to get out of this division and into the Premiership. That's where we need to be.

"We have to make sure the players know what the score is. Our priority is the league. The cup final is only a bonus. We want to be out there performing to our maximum in front of a jam-packed stadium and see if we can get to Cardiff two weeks in succession."

Millwall are still on a high after their triumph at Old Trafford, but Cardiff have every intention of bringing them back down to earth. Their manager, Lennie Lawrence, still harbours play-off ambitions of his own, and has warned his players they face the axe unless they match his standards.

Cardiff put themselves back into contention for a top six finish with a hat-trick of recent victories, and Lawrence wants to keep the momentum building.

He said: "We asked the players to keep their feet on the accelerator and if there's a sign of them coming off, they'll be out.

"So far, they have responded well. I've said all along that the side which leaves its best run until the last possible minute could gatecrash the play-offs. We've now won three league games in a row."