Shane Roche is expecting a dog-eat-dog affair as he starts a league campaign in the Wexford hot seat for the first time.

Former selector Roche succeeded Paul Galvin for the last two games of the pandemic-disrupted 2020 Allianz Football League, leading the Yellowbellies to a victory over Limerick and defeat to Wicklow in October.

Another loss to Wicklow in the Leinster championship was his third and most recent game in charge but the former Model goalkeeper will be hopeful of making the Division 4 semi-finals and getting a more extended run this year.

London's continued absence means Wexford are in the three-team Division 4 South, along with Waterford and Carlow, with two of the three advancing to meet Antrim, Sligo, Leitrim or Louth.

Roche is well aware that nothing will come easy ahead of his team's first game against the Déise on 22 May.

"There's going to be very little between everyone," he told the RTÉ GAA podcast, referring to the wider division.

"We beat Waterford last year, by a point, and Carlow but they are going to have home advantage.

"Division 4 is going to be all about intensity and the team that really wants to get out of it the most. It's going to come down to those moments of a one-point win either way.

"If you don’t fancy this division and you’re thinking your football will get you out of it, you’re going to be in it for another year.

"Division 3 is going to be a bit more football-based but down in Division 4 it really is a war zone."

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Roche believes that home advantage is particular important this year given the logistical challenges imposed by Covid-19.

"We’re at home to Waterford, so we would just tell the guys to eat at home and just come in an hour and a half before throw-in.

"But then we’ve an hour up the road to Carlow. The pre-match meal, is it carried with you or where do the catering company set up? All those little things that normally you would just stop in a hotel… it can make a massive difference.

"For the teams that have lost home advantage, they are at a massive disadvantage."

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