A top-seven finish in the Premier League could be enough to see the Blues rescue a campaign which promised much, but has delivered little.
Their continued involvement in the Uefa Cup, which has now reached the quarter-final stage, means they could secure a place in next season's inaugural Europa League by winning that competition, but they face stiff opposition in the pursuit of that goal.
Therefore a positive end to their domestic fixture list looks like presenting them with their best route back into continental action.
City currently sit three points behind Wigan in the race for seventh place, but Richards is confident Mark Hughes' men can overhaul their North West rivals.
"The season has been a bit typical of City, a bit up and down, but we have momentum now," the England international told the club's official website.
Aim"We've been getting a little bit of stick this season but as long as our home form continues like it is then we'll be alright.
"Europe was always our aim and we can really push on for that again next season.
"With our team we should never be in a relegation battle, we have to look at the top end. We've been up and down this season but we'll put it right."
City's hopes of securing a European place have been boosted by the news that Benjani Mwaruwari and Daniel Sturridge are pushing for a first-team return.
The pair came through a reserve outing on Tuesday night unscathed and are now looking to build up their match fitness ahead of the season run-in.
Hamstring troubles have restricted Benjani to just 12 appearances for the Blues this term, while Sturridge has been sidelined for the last two months with an ankle problem.