Keeper Joe Lewis is convinced boss Derek McInnes is building an Aberdeen squad that can deliver glory.
Which is why the 31-year-old believes it is vital the Dons emerge from the January transfer window with their three Scotland caps still at Pittodrie.
There is already interest in Gary Mackay-Steven and Graeme Shinnie and the Dons are on red alert for another bid for Scott McKenna.
When the window shuts at the end of this month, Lewis hopes the Reds have won the battle to retain their international stars.
Captain Shinnie and winger Mackay-Steven are both out of contract at the end of the season and have been free to talk to other clubs since the winter window opened on January 1.
Boss McInnes wants to secure both on extended deals, but admits he faces a fight to do that.
MLS side New York City, part of the City Group Football franchise that also owns Manchester City, have targeted Mackay-Steven.
The American side contacted the Dons while they were at a training camp in Dubai to inform them of their intention to talk to the winger’s representatives.
English Championship clubs Brentford and Hull City are also monitoring Shinnie.
Aberdeen knocked back bids of £7 million from Aston Villa and £3.5m from Celtic for McKenna in the summer.
Aberdeen are braced for potential bids this month – but Lewis hopes any fresh approaches are also rejected.
He said: “We want to keep all our good players and Graeme Shinnie and Gary Mackay-Steven are two of our better players.
“It is flattering for them, I am sure, for them to have that interest.
“It shows how well they have been playing and how well we are doing as a club that other teams are looking at our players.
“We turned down offers for Scott McKenna in the summer and hopefully we can do the same this month for him.
“The squad we have here is fantastic and we are trying to build something.
“So we want to keep all of our best players.”
While Lewis hopes there are no exits from Pittodrie in January, boss McInnes aims to bring in at least two new signings in this window.
He has targeted a left-back to replace Max Lowe, who has returned to Championship Derby County following the end of his loan deal.
McInnes also aims to secure another addition to bolster his attack.
Following a week-long warm weather training camp in Dubai, the Dons return to action on Scottish Cup duty against Stenhousemuir on Saturday.
Lewis insists the fourth round tie can be the first step to lifting the trophy for the first time since 1990.
The walls of Pittodrie are adorned with photographs of triumphant cup-winning sides and Lewis wants to add his name to that legendary list.
He said: “When you play for Aberdeen the expectation is there to challenge for every trophy you are involved in.
“There is no reason why we cannot win that trophy.
“You hope for a decent draw, but regardless of who we get, we should be favourites in almost every game we play.
“There is that drive within the squad to go and win a trophy and be another team that has lifted a cup.
“When you walk round Pittodrie you see all those photographs of winning teams.
“I want to be part of one of those sides.
“Since I have been here that has been an ambition of mine.”
Aberdeen will go into the tie as hot favourites against Stenhousemuir, who are rock bottom of League One.
But Lewis insists the Dons will treat the part-timers with the utmost respect.
He said: “The Scottish Cup tie with Stenhousemuir will be our first game back for a little while but there will be no excuses.
“There is no reason why anyone would take their foot off the pedal for that game or take Stenhousemuir for granted.
“I am sure they are a team who have good quality.
“They will see this as a massive game and a platform for them to showcase their skills and to possibly move on from where they are.
“We have to make sure we match Stenhousemuir’s commitment and drive to win.
“We have to show we are a better team and have better players, but first have to match that hard work and determination.
“You have to show that in every game.
“If you don’t have that in any game then you run the risk of losing.”
Aberdeen arrived back in the Granite City late last night after their week in the United Arab Emirates.
However, it was no holiday in the sun as boss McInnes put the Reds through double training sessions.
Lewis insists they will be ready for the second half of the campaign, beginning against Stenhousemuir.
He said: “That was the third season we had been out in Dubai and the players are tremendously grateful to the club for putting the trip on.
“You don’t get it at most clubs.
“Not only did we get a trip to Dubai, we also stayed at a fantastic hotel and used training pitches that were second to none.
“As much as the training was difficult, it was nice in between sessions to lie on the beach and get a bit of sun as well.”