And despite 25 players already coming through the ranks to turn out for the first team, Richards expects that number to grow, sooner rather than later.
He added: "There is a good crop of players coming through at the moment, I don't want to mention any names because that is unfair, but some of them will be pushing for the first team in future.
"But they have some fine players and I think a couple of them might find their way to Carrington next summer.
"We have had one or two there already and I should like to see a couple more with us next season. We are lucky to have such a great Academy structure and that the people who work there are so good at their jobs."