Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is ready to risk losing some of his key players for nothing as talks continue on securing key members of the squad.
Captain Ryan Jack, Niall McGinn, Andy Considine, Ash Taylor and Peter Pawlett head the list of players who are out of contract at the end of the season.
Talks continue on new deals and the players are free to sign pre-contract agreements with other clubs from January 1 but McInnes insists he is relaxed about the situation.
He said: “In an ideal world I’d want to have my players tied up and secure but it is unrealistic to think I’m going to get it all my own way with every player but I’m very comfortable with the situation.
“We’ve spoken to a few who are out of contract and a few who are under contract and we expect some movement on that in the next wee while.
“If we don’t agree with everyone I’m quite relaxed about it as we can’t make people sign. We can show them the benefits of signing but, ultimately, it’s each player’s career.
“It won’t stop us from preparing for the future as we always try to work a window or two ahead of ourselves. We’re trying to make sure we have the squad in place we want for next season as well.”
One of the players, midfielder Pawlett, provided a reminder of what he can bring to the side following a goalscoring return and impressive display in Tuesday’s 5-1 win against Kilmarnock at Pittodrie.
The Dons manager is pleased to see Pawlett take his chance to impress and is looking for more of the same when St Johnstone visit Pittodrie today.
He said: “Peter played the way he has been training and it is good for the squad when they see Peter, who hasn’t had much game time, come in and do well. He is feeling really good about himself and it is important he goes and builds on it.
“When you play with one striker it can’t be that he is the only goal threat which is why it was good on Tuesday to see Jonny Hayes, Peter and Niall McGinn scoring.
“It wasn’t just about Peter’s goal, though, he was in important areas and on another night he may have scored more. He was influential. We’ve had Jonny, Kenny McLean and James Maddison in that role at times this season.
“We’ve had a lot of tight games against St Johnstone in the last five or six years. There is very little between the two teams and we’ve always found them tough. This season we started with a goalless draw in Perth which wasn’t the worst result after a European game.
“At Pittodrie in the League Cup tie, there was nothing in a fiercely tough match. Big Joe pulled off a crucial save before Adam Rooney scored his goal.
“We’ve had 180 minutes against them this season and there’s been one goal, so we expect another tough game.”