Hughes takes his team to Sunderland on Saturday looking get back on track in the Premier League after last week's defeat to Portsmouth but all too aware of the drive and determination which will have been instilled in his opponents.
"He always had an opinion and was very forthright, and maybe on occasions he spoke before he should have and that got him into trouble. But that's his character and he doesn't suffer fools.
"Sometimes those are the qualities you need to have as a manager, and I think the qualities Roy has shown in the past are the ones he is also going to show in the future if he is to succeed."
Hughes believes the real test of Keane's managerial credentials starts now, as he bids to build on last season's extraordinary success in the Championship and establish the Black Cats in the Premier League.
"It's always important when you come up in your first season to have a decent start and they have picked up a number of good points in recent games," Hughes added.
"Last season was a fantastic achievement for Roy but when you come into a harder league it is about how you react to losing, how you get your players up for the next game and keep their confidence levels high."