Richards has been linked with Aston Villa as he struggles to find a way back into Hughes' first team.
Hughes insists that will not happen and is adamant Richards still has a big future in the game.
"Micah Richards is not going anywhere in January," said Hughes. "He is a big part of what we are trying to do here and we know he can improve.
"Don't forget, he is still a very young man. His football experience is great for someone of so few years and sometimes he doesn't get enough credit for that. But he is nowhere near the finished article. There is a huge amount of potential still to be tapped into."
Physically, Richards has few worries. The feeling is that his concentration is not what it could be, which leads to him getting into the wrong positions too often.
It was a problem Pearce identified when he was City boss, so the fact it still happens suggest a lack of application, another moan that is sometimes aired in Richards' direction.
However, Hughes is willing to be patient, believing Richards can eventually turn into a top player.
"Micah's physical attributes lend themselves to so many positions," said Hughes. "We just have to make sure he is training and playing correctly because he will grow into an outstanding player.
"He had a real burst of attention when he broke into the team but with a young player you always have a period where they plateau out.
"You have to get used to people taking a more critical view of you and maybe Micah has found that adjustment difficult."