Pearce admitted to being slightly irked that the Manchester City defender cannot be selected as an underage player after he turned 24 last month.
Nevertheless, Pearce believes Richards will be a key figure in their campaign and plans to use him in the heart of defence rather than in a full-back role he usually occupies under Roberto Mancini.
"It's a shame with Micah Richards that he's an overage pick," said Pearce.
"He misses out on being an underage player by a few months. I see him playing at centre-back than at full-back to be honest."