‘Lippy’ looks to promotionDate published: Thursday, July 16, 2015
RICHARD Lepori is back at Oldham with only one thing on his mind — promotion.
Any two from five will go up and ‘Lippy’ knows that Roughyeds have invested in him for the sole purpose of enhancing their chances.
No pressure then.
Said Lepori (23): “I want to slide back into Whitebank under the radar. No fuss. I’ve had it tough at Whitehaven this year and now I’m trying to rebuild and get my confidence back.
“For me, there’ll be no better place to do that than at Oldham.
“When I was free to look round for another club, I had a few offers but I just wanted to go where I would be happy, where I would feel at home and where I would have the best chance of starting to enjoy my rugby again.
“Looking at it from that angle, it was only ever going to be Oldham. I’ve some special memories from 2013 and a lot of my mates from that season are still there.
“We were nearly all young kids playing senior rugby for the first time. Scott (Naylor) was in his first head coach’s job. We surprised a lot of people by finishing second and then reaching the play-off final against Rochdale.
“I thought it was written that we would finish the season on a high and go up. I’m still gutted about what happened, but a year later, when I was in Australia, it must have been ever tougher for the lads who lost by a point in extra time.
“We’ve clearly got some unfinished business to attend to.”
Reflecting on his disappointing few months in Cumbria, the full-back said he never settled at the Recreation Ground.
“I struggled a bit because I wasn’t enjoying my rugby up there. There were a few little things off the field, but basically it was down to me. It wasn’t anybody else’s fault.
“I just didn’t feel right and when it’s like that, the long journey up there seems even longer.”
He won’t be available at London Skolars on Sunday to start the second phase of his Oldham career because he will be on his way back from Italy’s game against Ukraine in Kiev.
Oldham will then have only seven games left in their regular season — four away and three at home against Keighley, Barrow and Swinton.
He added: “The lads have been playing great rugby. We now need to kick-on over the next two months and finish as high as we can.
“We’ll have to get stuck in because there are a lot of good teams and a lot of good players in this division now.
“But the boys have already shown what they can do and if things like team spirit, camaraderie and fitness count for anything we’ll have as good a chance as everybody else, at the very least.”