Richards hopes the match officials allow the game to flow.
"The last four derbies have not been that ferocious really," he said.
"Three or four years ago it was ridiculous, some of the tackling.
"I'd like to see that again, that ferocity, as it makes it more special. We all like to see nice football, but everyone loves a good tackle.
"It's harder these days, as if you tackle someone hard you get questioned. I preferred those ferocious derbies - if it's a foul obviously the referee has to pull it up, but with those 50-50 challenges he should just let the game flow."