Former Waterford manager Derek McGrath believes the Déise will come with a "massive performance" against Tipperary in Semple Stadium on Sunday - and suspects they could well be aided by a dip in Tipp's concentration levels.
Victory is almost essential for Waterford tomorrow, following their one-point loss at home to Clare on the opening weekend. Should they slump to another defeat against Liam Sheedy's team, then qualification for the All-Ireland series becomes a remote prospect.
However, McGrath is in relatively bullish mood, and draws on the evidence of the National League to predict a slight drop-off in Tipperary's concentration levels.
"I think they'll come with a massive performance tomorrow," he told RTÉ Radio One's Saturday Sport. "I just feel it's in the air down here, knowing the group.
"If Tipperary's concentration levels dip ever so slightly - which I'd expect them to - I think Waterford can have a good day tomorrow.
"I have a feeling. The signposts from the league. If you look at the first Tipperary-Clare game, Tipperary were awesome and then again against Cork. Then they dipped then against Dublin in the league quarter-final.
"It's a gut feeling given that the talk all week has been about Tipp's sharpness, their forward play, their ability to create goalscoring chances, the Sheedy impact. It's very hard to ignore that talk and put substance on that.
"But there's something telling me that Waterford are going to come with a massive performance and that Tipp are going to dip ever so slightly which will give Waterford an advantage."
During Waterford's generally impressive league campaign, there was much chatter about their supposed shift in approach from a heavily programmed, defensive gameplan - as advocated by McGrath - to a freer and more expressive game - as endorsed by Paraic Fanning.
McGrath disputes the narrative, arguing this is a "populist" reading. Echoing Joe Canning, he stresses that all top level inter-county teams are tactically fluid and can shift from one gameplan to another, often within the course of a single match.
"I think there's a generic inter-county philosophy in that most teams are based on honesty of effort and workrate and these things act as catalysts for a plan. I think both can co-exist.
"Those players (Waterford), in my opinion, like instruction. The modern inter-county player likes instruction. Of course, he likes to express himself and likes to have the freedom of the pitch.
"Waterford will have that freedom to express themselves within a plan tomorrow.
"I think it's too much of a populist view to say there's too different philosophies. This is not forum for self-indulgence but to suggest we weren't tactically flexible would be inaccurate.
"All teams are very fluid in how they approach it. I'd agree with Joe Canning's assertion that teams have two or three different ways of playing and they can be fluid within the game."
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