The Latics' attacking midfielder has twice been coached by O'Neill, with the Northern Irishman handing him both his Celtic and Aston Villa debuts.
However, having spent just over a year under the management of Roberto Martinez at Wigan, Maloney sees similarities between the two bosses.
"O'Neill’s a very good manager; very honest and fair but you certainly know about it if you get on the wrong side of him," Maloney told Wigan's official website.
|15/4||Shaun Maloney is 15/4 with Bet365 to score any time against Sunderland
"You could get motivated by him but in that respect our manager is the same because you always feel ready with the gaffer.
"The manager and his staff have so much confidence in us and the club, which gives us confidence that if we play to the best of our ability then we can cause teams in this league a problem.
"We just have to find that consistency now to be our best each week and when it really matters."
Wigan's defeat in the last time out against Fulham was followed by a surprise League Cup trouncing at the hands of West Ham, and Maloney knows Sunderland will present another tough test.
He added: "James McClean will definitely be one of the players we have to be wary of because he is a determined player and attacks with a lot of pace.
"Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher have come in for them and as a four with Stephane Sessegnon as well, they can be a very dangerous side going forward and it is up to us to try and stop them."