DESPITE watching his side suffer a third straight defeat, head coach Dave Crouch refuses to be too downbeat, insisting Bolton can turn their fortunes around this Saturday.

The Cherry and Whites disappointed in their last outing, a 12-3 defeat at home to Eccles which sees them slip to eighth in the North Lancs/Cumbria table.

But, with a trip to the coast to take on Fleetwood to come this weekend, Crouch is remaining positive, particularly given their stout defensive efforts in preventing Eccles from crossing their try-line.

"I think we basically had the idea in our heads we weren't going to let them score," he told The Bolton News. "Our defence was really good but we just had a nightmare of a day in the lineout and we must have only played with about 30 or 35 per cent of the possession.

"When we did have it we went out wide and thought we would have some joy but we couldn't do enough with what ball we did have. But we stopped a good team from scoring tries so our defence was good and we kept our mouths shut, so there are some positives for us to take.

"I was expecting us to beat them, to be honest, but we didn't keep to our game plan, we played to their strengths instead."

Bolton's only points of the afternoon came from the boot of Joe Speakman, who landed one penalty late in the first half. But, although the hosts' discipline has improved immeasurably, they still conceded enough penalties for Eccles to take victory by splitting the uprights four times.

After a constructive debrief in training this week, Crouch is confident they can get back on the winning trail at the expense of Fleetwood, a side they beat 35-13 in this fixture last term as well as drawing 18-18 on home turf.

While ninth-placed Fleetwood have five wins to Bolton's four, a dearth of bonus points means they are a point and a place behind the Cherry and Whites in the table, and only two teams – third-bottom Burnley and basement side Hawcoat Park – have inferior points differences to their minus-60.

Bolton's pack will be without number eight Matt Parrish and prop Manny Tailor and their driving force Gaz Pritchard is rated as 50/50 to play at Fleetwood.

And, despite the prospect of three telling absences up front, Crouch feels a big all-round performance is both overdue and necessary if they are to start climbing back towards the upper reaches of the division.

"We're taking the rough with the smooth" he added. "We won't shy away from the fact that the last three results haven't gone our way but we just need to hold the ball better, present it well and play the fast, open game we are capable of.

"I'm expecting a close game, it always is there, so we just need to be more savvy."