FREMANTLE captain Matthew Pavlich insists his side can bounce back from a rocky three-game stretch, despite growing personnel concerns heading into Sunday’s western derby.

Fremantle has lost two of its last three matches, and gave up fourth spot to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday in a humbling 82-point defeat at Etihad Stadium.

Chris Tarrant (heel), Kepler Bradley (knee) and David Mundy, who was withdrawn late against the Dogs with illness, are all expected to resume this week.

However, injuries to Ryan Crowley (knee) and Alex Silvagni (groin) are more serious than first expected, with the pair each expected to miss a month of football.

Pavlich said with 11 first- or second-year players taking the field against the Bulldogs, Fremantle would have to fight through its personnel issues and manage its younger players.

“We’re confident that regardless of who’s out there that we can put up a performance that is our brand of football and how we want to play,” Pavlich said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.

“Whether or not it’s to the absolute standard we set earlier in the year, that’s our biggest challenge and that’s going to be our test, (but) we are hopeful we can play to that standard.

“Having 11 or 12 first- and second-year players at any point for any side in a season is going to be a challenge and difficult to manage.

“We are managing that as best as possible with the loading of individual guys … and the broader group as well.”

Pavlich, who is battling an ankle complaint, said he was confident he would not have to miss any games in the final five rounds of the regular season, and he had pulled up well from the Bulldogs clash.

“I’ve sort of had a couple of bits and pieces that have been grumbling on for a little bit now but that’s the same as every player in this point of the year that have been able to play every game,” he said.

“There are some ailments that most of the guys have at this point of the year, but I got through fine.

“It (the ankle) is something that’s been there for five or six weeks and managed well enough to get through. With regard to everyone who is able to play every game this season, you just keep managing the workload.”

Fremantle has won the past six western derbies, but Pavlich said his side was preparing for an ambush from West Coast, which has improved its form over the last three rounds.

“When you do get a run of form against a particular team, there is a level of confidence,” he said.

“But in the last two or three weeks they’ve started to play some very good football again, and they’ve probably got confidence out of the eight or so quarters they’ve played.

“We’ll have to be on our guard, there’s no question about that. They’ve talked about [having] nothing to lose … we’re guarding ourselves from an ambush.”

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