SHANE Lowry has been challenged to earn a new Millwall contract.
Ian Holloway is a huge fan of the 24-year-old Australian, who returns from a four-match ban for Saturday's trip to Barnsley.
But the Lions manager insists Lowry is no different to any other out-of-contract player, and must prove with his performances that he is worthy of a new deal.
"Shane is a very strong character and has a very strong voice," Holloway said. "I like the improvement I'm seeing in him. He knows that I like him and that my staff like him too.
"We're going to work towards making him the player that he thinks he can be. Some players can go off the path a little bit when they're not fancied or played in the right position.
"Moving forward, I am looking for us to be a Championship club, to push into the play-offs and then get promoted to the Premier League.
"At the moment, Shane has been part of the defence that hasn't worked. So like everybody else, he's got to show me that he can do what I want, and then maybe I'll give him a deal.
"I have to keep reminding the players that their job is to please me and not the other way round. That is the big difference. They have to prove themselves to me.
"The modern footballer can sometimes get things the wrong way around."
Lowry was suspended by the Football Association after being sent off for violent conduct against Sheffield Wednesday last month – his second dismissal of the season.
"He made a mistake," Holloway said. "He got a bit carried away and it is very easy to do that at our club with the passion of the crowd and how they are.
"Shane's got to stay calm and be professional so that he's eligible for selection more than he is at the moment. I don't want him to change, I just don't want him to do silly things.
"I really like the boy. Des Bulpin has got a lot of time for him and those two are getting on great. It helps to be wanted.
"Shane has got big ambitions. He has probably had a few problems in his own mind, wondering why he was the one let go by Aston Villa, so I've got to help him with that.
"In his mind, he's well on his way there."