Alex Rae - football manager
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Alex Rae: It’s great to see Millwall and Wolves going well in the Cup

| 02.02.2017

I’m delighted for Millwall and Wolves in the Emirates FA Cup this season.

I think when Paul Lambert took the Wolves post they were really struggling and the fans were disillusioned. They had new owners but the money wasn’t really there, but Paul’s come in and given them stability.

And the result against Liverpool was absolutely fantastic, and they picked up another good win this week at Barnsley.

It must be brilliant too for a manager to think ‘OK, I’m going to bring in Helder Costa for £13m with a few add-ons’ – that’s a very good position to be in and one which isn’t something many managers can do.

I think with continued investment they can make absolutely make a concerted effort to get back into the Premier League next year, although I think this year is too soon.

And it’s brilliant for Millwall too. They had a slow start to the season but now they’re in and around the play-offs. And the Cup run has been fantastic, especially the victory over Watford which was superb.

It really hasn’t been easy for the club either, with the threat of the Compulsory Purchase Order from the council, who wanted to buy some of the land.

But hopefully that’s been put to bed now, so they can focus on the football and hopefully maybe get into the play-offs and continue the cup run.

Experienced heads will keep Sunderland up

I actually do think Sunderland will stay up. They had such a poor start, but since then they’ve been picking up points.

And I think the fact that they kept Jermain Defoe was paramount for them, had they lost him it would have been a nightmare. I think Gibson can come in and add a bit of steel in midfield.

I saw them against Chelsea when they lost 1-0, and they weren’t bad at all, they just had a lack of bite.

Seb Larsson is coming back from injury though so if they can get him up to speed that will help. And the other bonus for Sunderland is they’ve got a vastly experienced manager, which will help too.

And of course, the club have been in this situation over the past few years, so the players and even the supporters know what’s needed at this stage of the season.

But over the long-term, they need to change the dynamics as to why the start seasons so poorly. Each season a new manager comes in and saves them eventually in the second half of the season. So some long-term planning could be good.

If they can sort the defensive aspect then Defoe will always grab you goals and Larsson can chip in too, so if they can get that bit of belief then they’ve got every chance of staying up.

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Alex Rae

A Scottish Premiership and League Cup winner with Rangers, Alex has also enjoyed spells at Falkirk, Dundee and a host of English clubs. and is well placed to offer insightful views on the game. Read his thoughts exclusively at Ladbrokes News.