Since then, Sam Allardyce has taken charge and Jermain Defoe has hit top form, notching five goals in his last three games.
Howe believes that Allardyce has gone a long way to changing the Black Cats' fortunes but still believes his side can bring three points home from the Stadium of Light.
"That first home win back in September against Sunderland was a big win for us," Howe explained.
"At the time, we needed to win at home but they are a different proposition from that game, they've changed their manager and are a more focussed side.
"The key games when they've looked in trouble they have found a way to win. Sam Allardyce has brought organisation and huge experience.
"He's been in this position many times and usually succeeded so I'm full of admiration for him.
"When you have the ability to score goals in tight games that's dangerous and that's what Jermain Defoe brings. Our key aim is to try and nullify him and of course the very good players around him. He's one of best players I've played with.
"But we're going to go into the game with a similar attacking mind-set to last week against Norwich City and will be aggressive in our play.
"From our perspective we go in to win every game and the fact it's an important game facing a team around us makes no difference to our approach, we're confident."
To watch Howe's full press conference ahead of our trip to Sunderland, click here
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