ALEX Rae is tipping Millwall to clinch a top-six finish when they face Bristol Rovers this Sunday.
And Rae, who played for Millwall between 1990 and 1996, believes the Lions will have an advantage if they claim the last play-off spot.
Millwall finished fourth in 2015-16 before losing at Wembley to Barnsley, who were sixth after the regular League One season ended.
Rae is confident of Millwall’s chances against Darrell Clarke’s side and feels they will be buoyed going into the May shootout if they get the win they need.
“I think it’ll be tight at the Memorial Stadium this weekend, but Millwall should just about edge it,” Rae told Ladbrokes’ website.
“I think it’s always useful to sample something in football – even if it’s an awful experience, as the play-off final was for Millwall last season. But having experienced Wembley and that pressure, I think it’ll prove a big advantage if they do reach the final again this year.
“I also think it can be a benefit to sneak in as the last-place team. Four times as a player, I was involved in teams that finished in the top play-off spot and didn’t win promotion.
“The time that I scraped into the final spot with Wolverhampton Wanderers, we did go up. If you come in at the right time, with momentum, it’s a huge boost.
“Teams are generally so well-matched in the play-off pack that the buzz of sneaking into the top six and the experience Millwall have had could prove crucial – if they can make the cut.”
If Millwall defeat Bristol Rovers they will play the first leg of a play-off semi-final against either Bolton, Fleetwood, Bradford or Scunthorpe at The Den the following Thursday.
“I think they can make it an intimidating place to come, and as a Lions player, it’s a massive boost when those fans get behind you,” Rae continued. “They can also make it such a difficult place to come as an opposition player – especially with the likes of Steve Morison up front.
“For me, he symbolises exactly what a Millwall player should be. He’s tough, tenacious, energetic and has that bit of class about him.
“If he’s on song, and the fans are in good voice, it’s such a tough place for potential play-off opponents to come – you’ve already seen several Premier League sides lose there in the cup this season.”
Rae is a fan of boss Neil Harris’ current squad – but stressed it will need strengthening if they reach the Championship.
“I like Lee Gregory a lot,” Rae said. “He’s got great stamina, is a fine finisher – and he’s been on fire at times this season.
“The likes of Shaun Williams and Ben Thompson have both been extremely reliable in midfield, as well. The latter certainly knows how to get stuck in – and would’ve fit in well in the Millwall side I played in during the 1990s.
“Having goal threats throughout the team makes them a really difficult team to contain. If you’re over-reliant on one player opponents can put all their resources into marking them. But it’s far tougher to keep multiple goal threats at bay. So that’s another plus for Neil.
“While I do rate the current squad highly in League One terms, if they jump up a division this time out, they will definitely need to add more quality. That’s always been the experience with promoted teams I’ve been part of at Sunderland and Wolves.
“In some cases, it’s a bit tough on certain players who’ve helped get you up – if they’re sold on or don’t get as much game time, but you need to bring in players who can complement your current key players. Otherwise, it becomes a really long and difficult season.”
Image: Millwall FC