Premier League - Richards: United are 'frightened'
City are two points ahead of United at the top of the table and will play their first derby game at the home of the reigning champions in the absence of the banner that has taunted them for not winning a trophy in 35 years.
Richards, a relative veteran of the fixture having played in 10 derbies, insists City are ready to shrug off their noisy neighbours tag and build on their FA Cup success from last season.
"United now know, much as they won't say it, that we are a genuine threat to them," the 23-year-old defender told the Manchester Evening News. "To get that banner down is quality - we have got the last laugh.
"We are not going out and saying we will win this game or that game but they call us the noisy neighbours. I think they're a bit frightened."
Meanwhile, Roberto Mancini has admitted Sir Alex Ferguson remains the managerial master - and he can only learn from the great Scot.
The pair go head-to-head in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Sunday.
For once City are in the ascendancy, having established a two-point lead over their local rivals in assuming the Premier League leadership. But Mancini accepts in terms of experience, he is still the pupil.
"He is a teacher and I can learn from him," said Mancini.
"It is not just me, it is all the managers. He has won everything for 25 years but he wants to continue to win."
Carlos Tevez will once again miss out on a meeting with his former club as his disciplinary hearing is due to be held on Friday. No resolution is likely until next week at the earliest.