Bent, who was stretchered off the pitch against Wigan Athletic last weekend, is expected to miss the remainder of the season with ankle ligament damage. However, McLeish insists that Agobonlahor can step up in his absence.
"As I said when I first came into the club, I had to find a place in the team for [Agbonlahor] in one of the front areas," he said. "I'm sure he's keen to get in among the goals in more of a central role.
"He's maybe not the same type of player as Benty but he's got the speed and the change of direction to score goals at the near post, score goals at the far post and some really great goals for the club.
"He has risen to that expectation level and I believe that he can take it to another level."
Agbonlahor is expected to lead the line when Villa travel to Blackburn Rovers this afternoon.