Although he would relish a battle against the powerful defender, he knows it would help Southampton's cause if their former player was missing.
He said: "I would never want anyone to be injured, especially a good mate like Deano - but their side would be weaker without him!
"There are not many weaknesses to his game. He was quality when he was here and he still is. He is their main defender and if he is out then they will miss him.
"I enjoy facing him, we have a right good battle. We both dish it out and take it and shake hands afterwards.
"He is a top man off the pitch too. We are good friends but that stops for 90 minutes when we face each other."
By Graham Hiley, Official Southampton Website
James Beattie will have mixed feelings if his close pal Dean Richards fails to recover from an Achilles problem in time for tomorrow's sell-out clash at the Friends Provident St Mary's Stadium.