Boss Derek McInnes insists he has a Plan B with potential replacements already sourced should Graeme Shinnie leave Aberdeen in the summer.
Shinnie is out of contract at the end of the season and has been offered a new lucrative long-term Dons deal.
Derby County are closing in on the 27-year-old who recently travelled to the Championship club for talks.
The Rams are operating under a soft transfer embargo which has delayed any pre-contract move for Shinnie.
McInnes will leave the door open for the Scotland cap to commit his future to the Reds but admits it is highly unlikely the captain will stay.
As Shinnie stalled on confirming his future McInnes has been planning for his unwanted exit for months now.
McInnes, whose side face Rangers at Ibrox tomorrow, said: “We prepare for life without Shinnie and the other out-of-contract players until they commit to us.
“Graeme has a few things to sort out still at the minute.
“We have been preparing for a while now.
“Conversations have been on-going and we have all taken in plenty of games.
“We have been plotting and planning, trying really hard to identify key players.
“We’re preparing for life without key players but if they want to stay, the door is still open.”
Scotland international winger Gary Mackay-Steven also has a deal set to expire at the end of the season. MLS side New York City approached the Dons in January to open up talks with the winger.
McInnes has been keen to retain Mackay-Steven.
Aberdeen have also opened up contract talks with on-loan Rotherham defender Dom Ball.
At the end of the season Ball’s contract expires with his parent club and McInnes aims to secure him on a permanent deal.
The Dons boss confirmed there has been no development in talks with Shinnie, Mackay-Steven or Ball.
Shinnie faces a battle to be fit before the end of the season having sustained ankle ligament damage in the 1-0 defeat of Kilmarnock.
McInnes confirmed that could rule Shinnie out for up to six weeks. If that is the case the club skipper could have played his last game for Aberdeen as Derby boss Frank Lampard has admitted he is keen to sign him.
However, McInnes has confirmed Shinnie is determined to beat the odds to return to fitness for the final game of the season, away to Hibs on Sunday May 19 – potentially Shinnie’s farewell to the Aberdeen supporters.
McInnes said: “There is ligament damage but no damage to the bone.
“It is about four to six weeks but Shinnie is adamant he will be back for the last game of the season. Certainly at this stage though he is up against it.”
Despite suffering the injury, Shinnie opted to stay on the pitch at Rugby Park for the remaining 10 minutes as the Dons had used all their substitutes.
He said: “Shinnie didn’t want to come off.
“We didn’t expect anything from him as Kilmarnock were down to nine men and then they went down to eight in the last throes of the game.
“Shinnie was on the pitch but he never touched the ball and never really did anything. It is maybe symbolic enough that he wanted to stay on the pitch rather than be seen to come off.”
The loss of Shinnie is the latest injury blow with Aberdeen set to face Rangers tomorrow with six first-team regulars ruled out.
On-loan Birmingham attacker Greg Stewart (sciatica/ hip injury), Gary Mackay-Steven (ankle), Niall McGinn (ankle), Shaleum Logan (ankle) and Tommie Hoban (cruciate ligament damage) are all out.
Aberdeen will tomorrow bid for a fourth straight win over Rangers in Glasgow.
Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard has added extra spice to an already tempestuous fixture by insisting the Dons raise their game when facing Rangers.
On those comments, McInnes said: “We raise our game every game.
“We don’t always get the results, our home form could have been better, but our away form has been second to none.
“We have had six years of solid work and we have raised our game time and again against every opponent.”
McInnes may have an injury-hit team but he is confident they can find a way to secure a memorable quadruple of Glasgow wins.
He said: “Beating Rangers in Glasgow three times is not an easy thing to do. Rangers, and Celtic, have huge advantages over everyone else so to find that consistency against Rangers is good. It shows we can find ways.
“At Ibrox tomorrow it may not necessarily be the team we would want to put out.
“But we will try to put out a team that will be competitive to try to get a result despite us being the underdog.
“Rangers were very good at Hearts last week and were able to score three goals away from home at a tough venue.
“But our away form gives us confidence we can put in a performance that gives us a chance of getting the result we want.”
McInnes was this week charged by the Scottish FA having been sent to the stand during the 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final loss to Celtic.
He was sent off after making a gesture towards Celtic fans in reaction to sectarian abuse directed at him. The hearing is set for Friday May 3.
On being issued with a notice of complaint, McInnes said: “I wasn’t surprised and we will deal with that next week.”