CARL Macauley believes Witton Albion can maintain the high level of performance they have reached in the past two games.

And the manager has told his players they should feel positive despite an FA Trophy exit at Leamington last weekend when their hosts secured a 2-1 win in added time.

“They can hold their heads up high,” he told the Guardian.

“The biggest thing for me was that our display was great even if it didn’t get the reward it deserved.

“To play against a side from the league above in the way we did, by completely controlling the game on their own pitch and creating more chances, is something I was proud of.

“And I told the lads that in the dressing room afterwards.”

READ > Leamington 2-1 Witton: match report

Witton will travel to Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday when they turn attention back to a Northern Premier League campaign that has lost momentum because of their success in knockout competitions.

They occupy 18th position in the Premier Division table, but have at least two games in hand on every rival.

A 5-0 thrashing of Buxton a fortnight ago sent a warning that they can transfer their cup form and Macauley will stress the importance of catching up with those in front in the coming weeks.

He said: “We’ve had great runs in both the FA Cup and the FA Trophy.

“It’s been fantastic for me to see us raise our game against sides from the National League North in the way that we have done.”

READ > Leamington 2-1 Witton: talking points

He can select Liam Goulding for the final time this weekend before a month-long loan spell comes to an end.

The Guardian understands it won’t be extended, and the 22-year-old will return to Altrincham.

The former Accrington Stanley man was again influential a midfield anchor role at Leamington that gave the likes of Tom Owens and Cesaire the freedom to support a lone striker.

Macauley said: “It’s a formation that has worked for us in so much as it countered perfectly both of our opponents in the past couple of games.

“The way Leamington set up played right into our hands and Liam was able to take out their most dangerous guy when he took up a deeper position.

“It might not be something we can use all the time and maybe we’ll have to evolve again, but it’s certainly helped us to deliver the performances that we have.”

Meanwhile midfielder Billy Smart sits out the final game of a four-match suspension on Saturday.