FOR the FA Trophy trip to Lancaster City on Saturday, Carl Macauley will welcome back a number of players who did not figure in his Witton Albion starting line-up in Tuesday night's Cheshire Senior Cup loss to lower-league neighbours 1874 Northwich.

Connor Heath, Liam Goulding, Josh Wardle and Chris Renshaw are expected to come back into the 11, having been among eight first-teamers who in midweek were either not called on, not available or rested to shake off injuries.

With a tough test awaiting them at third-placed BetVictor outfit Lancaster, Macauley is calling on his players to quickly dust themselves off from Tuesday's penalty shoot-out defeat that featured spot-kick misses by skipper Billy Smart, Tom Owens, MJ Monaghan and Kyle Sambor in a game which they had led 2-0.

“Lancaster beat us at home recently and absolutely deserved that win," he said.

“Away, now, in the FA Trophy, and we’ve just come back off two defeats – Buxton and 1874, while they got a good win at the weekend (at Mickleover) and had no game in midweek, so they’ll be fresher than us and probably have a bit more confidence.

“But we’ll look forward to it. It’s going to be tough and we’ll have to work extra hard.

"They’re organised, strong and aggressive, so we have to be at our best to get the result that we want.

"We switched off at vital times against 1874 and fair play to them, they took the chances that came their way.

“I wasn’t too concerned about the penalties because I believe it’s a lottery - we score, we miss, that’s the nature of it.

“But I was concerned about the goals that we conceded because we could have done better."

He added: “They’ve got to dust themselves down now.

“It’s important to try and throw them penalty misses away in the bin. You’ve got to quickly try and forget about them.

"I know that what they will do is go home and spin their heads over missing a penalty at an important time.

“It’s a lottery. Quickly forget about that, but we can’t forget about the two goals that we conceded and that’s really important to us moving forward.”

Further reflecting on how Witton surrendered a 2-0 first-half lead, he said: “2-0 is always a dangerous scoreline, but I thought we’d done enough in the game to reward us with that scoreline.

“But we switched off at vital times and fair play to them, they took the chances that came their way.

“There were a couple of chances before that where our keeper’s made two or three good saves.

“With the goals we conceded, we should have done better on the first one with the wide area – the midfielder should have got out instead of the full-back.

“And with the second one we didn’t see the danger, we didn’t smell it. Their lad got up at the back post, headed it down, we should have seen it and mopped up that bit of mess, but we didn’t so that was a concern to us.

“But it was a good run-out for us, it’s a derby, there’s a lot at stake in derbies and it was a good test for some of our young lads that were out there playing.

“I thought we should have done enough to see the game out, but we didn’t. Fair play to Northwich, they got back in the game and went on to win it. Congratulations to them and good luck to them in the next round.

"There aren't any easy games in any type of cup football, as we saw on Tuesday night – a lower side beats us and knocks us out of the competition.

"And vice-versa, we’ve done that, we’ve had some great cup success here over the seasons and beat higher opposition.

"It happens, that’s football. I’m not too concerned about that, but I am concerned about the two goals that we conceded.”

Under 21s player Will Gatward made his debut, and when he limped out after 26 minutes another youngster Leo Roberts got his first go in Macauley's side, which featured only five players from the get-go that had appeared in the starting line-up at Buxton three days earlier.

“We did make a few changes, we have to take each game as it comes," said Macauley.

"This was important, we wanted to stay in the competition and we haven’t.

"And then we also have another big game coming up in the FA Trophy, and games are coming up thick and fast.

"So with players getting injured, we had to take care of some of those who didn’t figure because we’ve got this game coming up against Lancaster.”