Oldham have confirmed that Italian international Richard Lepori has returned to the club for the 2017 season.
Lepori, who has been playing rugby union with Sedgley Tigers, had been linked with a move to Rochdale.
“I’m ready to get back into rugby league now and I’m looking forward to picking up the pieces again at Oldham,” said nthe 25-year-old.
“I’ve always been happy there; always played my best rugby there,
“I’ve been with Scott, ‘Spanner’ and Peter (head coach Scott Naylor and his assistants Lee Spencer and Peter Carey) since I was a youngster at Salford.
“They always get the best out of me. They’re like father figures.
“It will be a big achievement if we can finish higher in the Championship than we did last year, but we’ve signed some good new players and I think we’ll go well, especially when we get some of the injured lads back in the side.”
Lepri, a full back, temporarily left rugby league at the end of last season, as he was studying for a masters degree in the sociology of sport and exercise.
His studies will continue in a part-time capacity, and he has moved home from Chorley to city-centre Manchester, and has taking up a new post as a sports lecturer at Tameside College.
Coach Scott Naylor is delighted to have Lepori back in his squad. The player will now undertake a mini-preseason, before becoming available for selection in March.
“We told ‘Lippy’ at the end of last season that if he ever wanted to come back we would welcome him with open arms,” Naylor said.
“We found out last week that he was willing to talk about things again and Chris (club chairman Chris Hamilton) moved very quickly to get the deal done.
“We are delighted. He’s a quality player and a quality lad, who will make our back line so much stronger.
“We like to start each season by leaving room in the squad for quality additions, and we did look a bit light in the friendlies when we picked up a few injuries.
“But with Richard back; Keiran Gill and Tuoyo Egodo having joined us on loan from Castleford; and some of the injured lads getting ready to return we look a lot stronger.
“Everything is positive as we look forward to Sunday’s first league game against Sheffield at Bower Fold.”