Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass confirmed he will not rush into making decisions on players’ futures.
Glass is willing to take his time in assessing his squad and insists the onus is on every player, whether set to go out of contract or not, to impress him.
Players have the Scottish Cup campaign and three Premiership matches remaining this season to prove to Glass they should be part of his squad next season.
Eight players are out of contract in the summer, with loan deals for a further four also set to expire.
There will be an inevitable summer rebuild by Glass, but players desperate to be part of his plans will have enough time to impress him.
The chance to shine will continue tomorrow, with Aberdeen hosting Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.
Glass said: “The players have got an opportunity over the next few weeks to stay here.
“Part of the next few weeks is assessing what’s required.
“There’s ones who are out of contract, everyone is aware of that, there’s ones who are in contract and there’s ones we’d like to bring in.
“It’s never easy, but the fact we’ve got this time to assess the group is hugely important.
“We’re not in a hurry to do anything, which is important the players here feel that.”
In his first game in the Dons’ dugout, Glass led Aberdeen to a penalty shoot-out defeat of Livingston in the previous round to set up the last-eight tie with Dundee United.
Just days later, the 44-year-old came within seconds of delivering a win over Celtic at Pittodrie in five years.
However, the Reds suffered the heartache of conceding an equaliser three minutes into injury time to draw 1-1.
Rather than be demoralised by such a late blow, Glass is confident it will galvanise his squad to book a semi-final slot at Hampden.
He said: “I think the disappointment of the last second the other night will carry this group a long way.
“Because you don’t want to feel that again.
“It actually felt like a defeat sitting there in the dressing room after the game.”
The squad are ready to go to the well again
Glass only began working with the Dons squad last Wednesday at the Cormack Park training complex, having been in quarantine for 10 days.
That was due to Covid-19 regulations on overseas travel after he arrived from the United States.
Less than two weeks on from his first day, he could secure a Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.
He is confident that can be achieved, but insists, if it is secured, it is all down to his squad.
Glass said: “It would be an achievement for the group.
“We think we can win the game on Sunday, but I am well aware of the fact Micky (Mellon, Dundee United manager) rested five or six players in midweek.
‘Clearly, you do that if you think you have a team that can win on Sunday.
“So Micky is in the same boat as me.
“We didn’t have the luxury of being able to rest players on Wednesday.
“So we have come through 120 minutes against Livi and a really tough game against Celtic.
“You ask the group to go to the well again on Sunday, but I think they are ready.
“It’s about the group.”
Scottish Cup is a ‘different animal’ to League Cup
Glass will tomorrow continue the Dons’ quest to lift the Scottish Cup for the first time since 1990.
He won the League Cup in 1995 as a player with Aberdeen.
Glass was named man-of-the-match in the 2-0 final defeat of Dundee at Hampden.
The Pittodrie manager insists the Scottish Cup, the country’s premier knock-out competition, is a “different animal” to the League Cup.
This season the winners of the Scottish Cup are also rewarded by entry into the Europa League third qualifying round – just one knock-out tie away from the lucrative group stages.
Glass does not need reminded of the enormity to the club and city of finally ending that 31-year wait to land the Scottish Cup.
He said: “Every manager who has been Aberdeen manager since then has tried.
“It’s not easy.
“There’s not a lot of teams win it.
“Some teams win the League Cup and things like that, but the Scottish Cup is a different animal altogether.
“It’s something the club wants.
“We get a quick opportunity to do it, but we know it’s very difficult to do or it would have been back here long before.”
No luxury of resting players for the cup tie
Glass has studied Dundee United extensively in the build up to the quarter-final.
The Dons have yet to score against the Tannadice outfit this season, having twice drawn 0-0 before losing 1-0 in a game days before Glass was appointed manager.
He said: “I’ve watched the one Paul (Sheerin, interim manager) coached (1-0 loss).
“I’ve been deeper into watching United recently and obviously watched their game against Forfar (1-0 win), because I was hoping we would play the winner.
“I’ve seen them and I do keep my eye on them anyway because I used to support them as a kid.
“I look for their results, see what their team looks like and watch the highlights.
“We are well aware of Dundee United.
“We know their top players will be playing and will be fresh after being rested in midweek.
“They will have a game-plan to come and try and beat us and we will be ready for the match.”
Keeper Joe Lewis remains a doubt for the quarter-final with bruised ribs suffered early in the cup defeat of Livingston that kept him out of the draw with Celtic.
Midfielder/right-back Ross McCrorie is expected to be fit tomorrow, having been forced off in the first half of the Celtic draw with an ankle injury.