STEFAN Maierhofer is being limited to a role as an impact substitute because he is not fit enough to start matches, Ian Holloway has said.
All four of Maierhofer's appearances for Millwall have been off the bench and Holloway says it would be a risk to play the Austrian from the first minute.
But the Lions boss is hoping that the 31-year-old's influence will grow as the season reaches its climax.
"He's something that we haven't got in the group," Holloway said. "I like his touch and he's a great person. I think he'll prove valuable by the end of the season.
"If teams do drop deep against us, we can hit him, he can flick it on and he can enable other people to score even if he doesn't himself.
"I might have to start him in some of our remaining games and I will – I've got no problem with starting him.
"I like what he does but it's just his fitness at the moment. You don't find many players on a free transfer who are fully fit at this time of year.
"It's match fitness that he lacks. His running and what he does is almost there, but he's got to get back when we lose the ball and close down.
"He's not quite there yet but he's working at it. I'm having to use him as a substitute at the moment but if there was a knock to Steve Morison he would start."
Holloway has also been pleased with the progress of another of his forward options, Simeon Jackson, who has scored two penalties in his last two games.
"He looks like he believes he's going to score," Holloway added. "That may only be from the penalty spot so far, but he looks sharper and fitter.
"He knows that with Maierhofer and Morison here, I'm going to put him up the middle and what he needs to do is get on the end of a flick – then he looks threatening."