Derbyshire trail by 218 runs with one first-innings wicket remaining
Worcestershire have beaten Derbyshire once this season and will hope to make that a double at some juncture today.
But if Derbyshire resist as nobly as they did last evening, there is no guarantee that the Pears will complete a second County Championship victory of the season inside three days.
They should take the last Derbyshire first-innings wicket this morning and then enforce the follow-on.
But their bowlers will have another hard day's graft ahead of them before they can achieve victory as Tom Moody, the club's director of cricket, contemplates the prospect of being appointed coach of India. Whether he likes a nice curry is becoming the chief topic of conversation around New Road.
If Worcestershire do win this match, they will owe it to the considerable efforts of Stephen Moore.
After his exhausting efforts on Wednesday, Moore added only 18 more runs to his overnight 228 not out yesterday morning before being dismissed for a monumental 246.
Wicketkeeper Jamie Pipe stole the day's early batting honours as he added 45 to finish 80 not out, his secondhighest first-class score.
Worcestershire resumed at 408 for eight and there was another hour of suffering for Derbyshire's Michael Di Venuto before the final cost of his dropped catch the previous morning could be established.
Having added exactly 100 to his previous career-best score of 146, Moore was poised for another reworking of the record books when the end came.
He and Pipe had put on 173 and were within eight
runs of a 98-year-old record, the county's highest partnership for the ninth wicket, set by Messrs Cuffe and Burrows here against Gloucestershire in 1907.
Then, Moore got a bottom edge to an attempted pull and was caught behind.
There was still hope for Pipe that he might have the chance to reach three figures for only the second time but he needed a bit more of a willing ally than last man Matt Mason, who lasted only seven balls before crudely hoisting a catch to mid-off.
Having been the man who let Moore merrily get away with 234 runs more than he should have, Di Venuto promptly bagged a golden duck.
He tried to turn the first ball of the innings from Chaminda Vaas off his legs and was adjudged leg-before.
It did not take Kabir Ali long to get in on the act, either, as he earned a legbefore decision against Steve Stubbings.
Kabir and Vaas continued to make inroads, taking two more wickets each as Derbyshire slumped to 144 for six.
Still needing another 187 runs to make their hosts bat again, Derbyshire faced the ugly prospect of following on before close of play but the tailenders got their heads down and grafted with a level of concentration that showed up the top-order batsmen.
A stand of 62 for the seventh wicket by Anthony Botha and Warwickshire old boy Graeme Welch, followed by one of 29 for the eighth and the unbroken one of 25 for the last held up the Worcestershire bowlers.
Assuming that last pair Ian Hunter and Paul Havell do not score the 69 runs needed to save the follow on, Worcestershire's attack will be looking for greater penetration when they bowl at Derbyshire again.
Moody is seen by his former Australia captain, Steve Waugh, as a more likely contender for the vacancy in India than another Australian, Greg Chappell.
"Greg has a great cricketing brain," Waugh said, "but Tom is young, talented and will gel with the Indian team better."